Saxophonist and Composer Mette Henriette Releases "Drifting" on ECM

After Mette Henriette's critically acclaimed, self-titled first recording comes Drifting – an album pervaded by trio conversations of idiosyncratic and original expression. Mette: "Drifting vividly captures a moment in time. I can hear everything still growing – in motion – on the record and how present my imagination is. Prior to the recording, I had a lot of time to sit down and focus on this new music. From the very beginning, I wanted to create material that could grow, expand and contract in different formats."

With Johan Lindvall returning on piano, new addition Judith Hamann on cello and herself on saxophone, Mette's chamber musical elaborations prove of a concentrated and exploratory quality, marked by subtle yet intense interaction. Motifs and recurring patterns crystallize and reveal a concise, intricate narrative. The saxophonist-composer explains how "this album is in movement. It's on its way somewhere and has its own pace – its creative agency is fundamentally different from what I've done previously."

The difference not only manifests in the change of instrumentation, but moreover in the fabric and compositional design of this collection of songs. At once organized programme with a compelling instrumental narrative and playground for impulse and improvisation, Drifting connects to the deeper processes within Mette's musical consciousness. Illuminating the mechanisms behind her musical inventions and touching upon the diction of her language, Mette notes: "for me, a very important tool in the compositional process is to let ideas mature to the extent that they start living their own lives. Then things just spontaneously come to the surface in different pieces and start interconnecting. And I like playing with prepositions in music. Shedding light on different things from different perspectives, playing with foreground and background, repositioning elements and flipping arrangements. To me, that's how different improvisational opportunities come to life."

Some of those interconnections can be traced between "Across the Floor" and "Chassé", found in the pieces' correspondingly hesitant pulses and likeminded melodic themes. Or between "I villvind" and "Rue du Renard", based around their shared sweeping piano arpeggios and their similarly urgent dynamic waves. Elsewhere, the trio presents its rich pallet of timbres within far-reaching, un-repetitive structures, as in the title track, "Oversoar" or "Indrifting You", abound with steadily shifting tonal tensions, Hamann's defiant cello flageolets, divergent chordal piano frames and Mette's distinctive, wide-ranging saxophone explorations.

Recorded at the recently relocated Munch Museum in Oslo, the album was completed at Studios La Buissonne in close collaboration with Manfred Eicher, who produced the album and, as Mette stresses, whose "intuitive and complete understanding" of her music significantly influenced the shape and sound of Drifting.

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