Review: Espen Lund – Blow. Amplifier (self-released, Sep 28)

A lone trumpet croons notes, rough noodling hovers somewhere between melody and atonality. Will this just be another solo trumpet album? Not that I’m complaining, I just expected something more effect-heavy. I wonder — WHAM. A wave of feedback-encrusted fuzz accompanies the next flurry, as trumpeter Espen Lund and his wall of amplifiers blasts you into oblivion. Blow. Amplifier thrives on its own unpredictability, drawing equally from improvisation and punishing metallic drone, exploring the possibilities of this unique conversation between clean and distorted. The eponymously titled opening track unfolds like a wordless debate, as the unaffected trumpet meanderings lull the listener into temporary solace only to crush it with another slab of vicious distortion. Without this track, it would be easy to forget how the album’s sounds are being produced; the short interlude “White Mass” and the massive conclusion “The Great Equalizer” both abandon their origins almost entirely, focusing on the manipulation of the trumpet’s sounds. The latter conjures similar feelings of submergence and volume worship as when I saw Boris last year; no small feat for music created only with an electric horn instrument. Blow. Amplifier is an experiment to be sure, but undoubtedly a successful one, and god knows what Lund can accomplish with this formula in the future.