Mengi | Saumur. Arve Henriksen, Hilmar Jensson, Skúli Sverrisson

Saumur. Arve Henriksen, Hilmar Jensson, Skúli Sverrisson



Nominated ‘Record of the Year’ in Jazz and Blues category at The Iceland Music Awards 2016.

Nominated ‘Performer of the Year’ in Jazz and Blues category at The Iceland Music Awards 2016.

Nominated for The Nordic Music Prize in 2016. Got an honorable mention at Nordic Music Prize.

”A very emotive, ambient-laden experimental jazz album. A spiritual and beautiful piece, evoking the spirits of Talk Talk and David Sylvian. Skúli and
Hilmar are long standing members of the international “outer limits” jazz world, with roots in the 90’s NY downtown scene. Here they are joined by Norwegian trumpeter and singer Arve Henriksen in a truly nordic mood”. Phonofile Nordic Music Prize Nordic jury.



Arve Henriksen: Trumpet, voice, electronics
Hilmar Jensson: Guitar
Skúli Sverrisson: Bass
Music by Arve Henriksen, Hilmar Jensson and Skúli Sverrisson
Recorded by Birgir Jón Birgisson at Sundlaugin, Studio.
Mixed by Skúli Sverrisson
Mastered by Finnur Hákonarson
Drawings by Sara Riel
Design by Nicolas Kunysz

Release date: July, 2016
Published by Mengi


There is somewhat a spiritual and sacred atmosphere that meets the listener in the beginning of Saumur. Underneath a warm and soft carpet, weaved from Skúli Sverrisson’s bass and Hilmar Jensson’s guitar and above it, the otherworldly falsetto voice of Arve Henriksen. Music born from silence where nothing is decided beforehand; the music is allowed to evolve from the now and the moment. Improvisation that would hardly happen if it weren’t for the great trust that these three musicians have towards each other. Their antennas open for ideas and gestures, different sound-worlds melt together into one organic whole. Music without ego perhaps.

The sacred atmosphere is gradually taken over by different kind of emotions, melancholic tranquility, deep undercurrent and chaos. The broad palette takes us through a journey, down to the deep and in the end, to some kind of  resolution or grace. The songs’ titles are based on a poem by musician Ólöf Arnalds that perhaps implicate the journey that the listener is invited to enter:

From beneath

Unprejudiced and curious approach towards music is one of the links that connect these three musicians. They’ve all been inspired by music from all over the world, ancient and new; music based in classical traditions of many continents along with experimental music of our time, noise, drone, electronica, post-rock, minimalism to name but few of the inspirations. Their sources come from all over and mold their strong, distinctive voices that can not be defined or labelled. Music based on deep knowledge, continuous practice and relentless search.

Bass, guitar, trumpet, voice, electronics. These are the instruments that create the sound world of Saumur. Instruments that possess endless possibilities of transformation and change, trumpet turns into a shakuhachi, guitar becomes a percussion, bass transforms into an African cora, the human voice reminds one of electronic sounds…The instruments become sources for all kinds of sounds where cliches are abandoned and the listener sometimes doesn’t know from where the sound flows. So he listens deeper, he has entered a playground where everything is possible.

Saumur was recorded in two days in Sundlaugin, Studio and on the third day the musicians sat down in order to choose moments and movements that would create the world that has become this record. With a long history of playing together within different context and bands they’ve dreamed of making a trio album for a long time. Finally the time has come.

Saumur was recorded by Birgir Jón Birgisson, edited and mixed by Skúli Sverrisson and mastered by Finnur Hákonarson. Drawings by Sara Riel, visual artist and design by Nicolas Kunysz. As with other albums of Mengi label, the outer and inner content make one, unseparable whole where the visuals give the music deeper meaning.

Saumur will be released by Mengi in July, 2016. We do hope this precious album will be enjoyed by many.

Elísabet Indra Ragnarsdóttir

Arve-Henriksen-37 (1)
Born in 1968, Arve Henriksen studied at the Trondheim Conservatory from 1987-1991, and has worked as a freelance musician since 1989. 

He has worked with many musicians familiar to ECM listeners, including Jon Balke Magnetic North Orchestra, Anders Jormin, Edward Vesala, Jon Christensen, Marilyn Mazur, Audun Kleive, Nils Petter Molvær, Misha Alperin, Arkady Shilkloper, Arild Andersen, Hilmar Jensson, Skuli Sverrisson, Stian Carstensen, Dhafer Youssef, Sidsel Endresen, Christian Wallumrød, Nils Økland, Per Oddvar Johansen, Gjermund Larsen, Svante Henryson, Mats Eilertsen, Stian Westerhus, David Sylvian, Jon Hassell, Hope Sanduval, Laurie Anderson, Eivind Aarset, Erik Honoré, Trio Mediaeval, Toshimaru Nakamura, Trygve Seim Orchestra, Jan Gunnar Hoff, Giovanni Di Domenico, Tatsuhisa Yamamoto, Gavin Bryars, John Potter, Teun Verbruggen, Imogen Heap, Kari Bremnes, Jannis Anastasakis, Lars Danielsson, Tigran Hamasyan, the Cikada String Quartet, The Source and many more.

He has played in many different contexts, bands and projects, ranging from working with koto player Satsuki Odamura, to the rock band Motorpsycho via numerous free improvising groups with Ernst Reisiger, Sten Sandell, Peter Friis-Nilsen, Lotte Anker, Terje Isungset, Marc Ducret ,Karl Seglem et cetera. Today he is working with Supersilent, and various settings including Jan Bang, Audun Kleive, Helge Norbakken, Stian Westerhus and Ingar Zach.

He has composed music to Bale Jazz, Vossa Jazz, “My own private furry” (dance performance) and to “FRED” (theatre performance). He has made music for films and documentary programs. He was artist in residence at Moers Jazzfestival 2006 and he has been a part of the European Jazz Launch project 2004-2006. He was the artist in residence at Molde Jazz Festival 2009. He has received Radka Toneffs Minnepris, Norsk Jazzforums Buddy Award, Paul Acket Award at North Sea Jazz Festival and DNB and Kongsberg Jazzfestival´s Musician Award 2011. He has been nominated to Nordisk Råds musikkpris in 2009 and also nominated to European Jazz musician of the year 2009. He has a long discography counting over 140 records in total.

Latest releases:

“The Nature of Connections”  Rune Grammofon 2014
“Chron/Cosmic Creation 1-8”  Rune Grammofon 2014
“Places of Worship”               Rune Grammofon 2013
“Solidification” 7LP box          Rune Grammofon 2012


Hilmar Jensson(b.1966)
Graduated from FIH School of Music, Iceland in 1987.
BM degree from Berklee College of Music in 1991.
Private lessons with Mick Goodrick, Jerry Bergonzi, Hal Crook and Joe Lovano.
Performed and recorded in a wide variety of settings and appeared on over 60 records including 8 as a leader.
Performed in 35 countries with his trio “TYFT”, Jim Black’s AlasNoAxis, Trevor Dunn’s MadLove, Mogil, Outhouse, B.O.A.T and many others.
One the founders of Kitchen Motors, an Icelandic record label, think tank and art organization.

Recorded and/or performed with: Tim Berne, Andrew D’Angelo, Jim Black, Chris Speed, Skuli Sverrisson, Trevor Dunn, Herb Robertson, Eyvind Kang, Marc Ducret, Nate Wooley, Cuong Vu, Tom Rainey, Peter Evans, Matt Garrison, Briggan Krauss, Ben Perowski, Jamie Saft, Ches Smith, John Zorn, Ted Reichmann, Ben Street, Wadada Leo Smith, Arve Henriksen, Terje Isungset, Per Jörgensen, Per Oddvar Johansen, Anders Jormin, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Audun Kleive and many others.

Over the past two decades, bass guitarist-composer Skuli Sverrisson has worked with a veritable who’s who of the experimental world, from free jazz legends (Wadada Leo Smith, Derek Bailey) to music icons (Lou Reed. Jon Hassel, David Sylvian, Arto Lindsey) and composers (Ryuichi Sakamoto, Johann Johannsson and Hildur Gudnadottir. Sverrisson is also  known for his work as an artistic director for Olof Arnalds (Innundir Skinni, Vid og Vid), recordings with Blonde Redhead and as a musical director for legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson.
Sverrisson founded Seria, an ongoing ensemble featuring Amedeo Pace, Olof Arnalds, David Thor Jonsson, Anthony Burr, Eyvind Kang and Hildur Gudnadottir in 2005 and released Seria in 2006 and Seria ll in 2010.
He has appeared on over 100 recordings and has performed around the world with a wide range of artists.
Recent works include series of live film /music performances with experimental film maker Jennifer Reeves, three new recordings of the ongoing collaboration with Anthony Burr and a new duo recording with Oskar Gudjonsson
Sverrisson has been awarded 5 Icelandic Music Awards, including Icelandic Album of the Year for Seria in 2006 and was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2011.