Daniel Herskedal: The Roc

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Daniel Herskedal
LABELS: Edition
ALBUM TITLE: Daniel Herskedal
WORKS: The Roc
PERFORMER: Daniel Herskedal (tuba), Svante Henryson (cello, octobass), Eyolf Dale (piano), Helge Andreas Norbakken (drums) et al


On The Roc, tuba player/composer Herskedal continues to showcase more impressive music from Norway, partly influenced by Norwegian folk music but this time largely inspired by his travels in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. Track titles reference traditional Arabic scales (‘Kurd, Bayat, Nahawand To Kurd’), rhythms (‘Thurayya’) and proverbs (including the splendid ‘There Are Three Things You Cannot Hide; Love, Smoke And A Man Riding On A Camel’) while, as scholars of 1001 Nights will know, the Roc of the title is a giant mythological bird.

The use of unconventional instrumentation produces some dark, sparse yet gorgeous and unusual textures, with Herskedal coaxing nimble and delicate lines from his low register horns, matched by Henryson’s massive octobass. The compositions have a graceful vitality, which the band realises with compulsive, dancing rhythms, while reflective numbers like ‘Eternal Sunshine Creates a Desert’ are atmospheric, conjuring mysterious landscapes and locations. A beguiling, consistently fascinating album.


Barry Witherden