In our time, the poet Keats' famous adage "beauty is truth, truth beauty" might sound like a lost dream, but Nils Henrik Asheim's collection "Hornflowers", reimagines this relationship and brings hope to contemporary ears. Asheim is not a beauty-worshipping esthetician in the same way as Keats, but he examines the idea of beauty through poetic compositions.
Today, beauty and truth appear almost as opposites truths are disputed and dismantled, while reality can come across as anything but beautiful. The works on this release, performed by the NyNorsk Brass Quintet, are also full of contradictions.
Collected fragments, sounds, patterns, words, and dichotomies are utilized as building blocks, freed from their original context and strung together in surprising and powerful constellations.
Asheim has also given several of the pieces oxymoronic titles, like "Burning Ice", "Singing Stones", and "Scream Soft", and by this invites the listener to reflect upon differences of opinion and improbable compilations.
The brass instruments occupy and explore spaces we do not normally hear them occupy undressed and playful and their obvious natural place and inclusion in these constructions is both astonishing and liberating. It is precisely in the surprises, in the contrasts, in the distance between the building blocks and the grout that holds them together, that the uniqueness and tactility of this music is revealed.
In this way, Asheim creates his own musical lyricism where beauty and truth are exposed through contradictions and improbabilities.