March 4th marks the start of a new concert series at London’s Kings Place: The Jazzland Recordings Presents series showcases the fine Norwegian jazz label’s top tier roster. The series inaugural concert features Mari Kvien Brunvoll, a distinct vocalist and composer who operates within her own distinct soundworld, at once strange and familiar, using 21st century technology to create music that has flavours of traditional blues and jazz, world music and elements of pop.The unique results of her live-on-stage experimentations can range from the densely melodic to the avant garde, the curiously whimsical to the edges of lament, the languid flow to the locomotive drive.
We have talked to Brunvoll ahead of her Kings Place live appearance in early March on what she has planned for her London solo-show as well as plans for 2015:
From M.I.A to Madvillain
As a listener one gets the impression that you draw inspiration from a wide range influences – from folkesque vocal phrases to electronica-loops. Are there some inspirational sources that you want to highlight as being instrumental in your own development as an artist?
– Yes, I’m particularly fond of folk music from around the globe as well as hip hop and electronica. Over the last few years, I’ve listened a lot to acts such as M.I.A., Kim Hiorthøy, Hans Applequist, Madvillain, Four Tet and various Indian folk music styles. Listening to old recordings of Norwegian folk music has also given me much inspiration with its lovely and quirky yet beautiful melodies. Lately, I’ve spent much time getting into Norwegian outfit Moskus and (percussionist) Håkon Stene’s new albums that are both incredibly beautiful outings. Not to mention Jim O’Rourke – I listen to a wide range of music, mostly what’s hits a nerve and produces an instant physical reaction with my body. That’s what inspires me.
What can the audience expect to hear from the Kings Place stage next week? Will you debut new material in London and how will you balance the improvised with the composed repertoire?
– The gig will be a concoction of new and old repertoire – I find it rewarding to fuse the composed passages with improvised parts. The length of each improv stretch is not something that is predetermined. On the spur of the moment, I might leave out a song or add another. On some occasions, I´ll include a sketch of a song on the setlist and improvise its form and compositional color there and then. I´ve yet to pin down a setlist for the Kings Place concert – I like to keep my options open right up until showtime. I´ve never performed in London before, so this is a debut for a new audience.
Do you see that your own music finds its way to niche audiences abroad – and if so, are there any territories that stand out as receptive for your form of expression?
– I don’t really have a favourite country to tour in. I feel that it is rewarding to perform wherever I go, but I’ve done quite a lot of gigs in Germany and Italy and find the audiences there are open-minded and listen deeply to what I bring forward. That’s awesome.