Illusion of a Separate World is a meeting between an innovative Slovakian guitarist, film music composer and sound designer David Kollar (Steven Wilson, Pat Mastelotto, Fennesz, Marco Minnemann, Eivind Aarset) and Norwegian trumpet maestro Arve Henriksen. Shimmering soundscapes and haunting melodies mixed with soundtrack music, ethnic influences, electronic explorations, jazz hybrids, and post-rock riffs are at the core of this meeting.
David Kollar and Arve Henriksen started their collaboration after meeting in 2017 and played just twice before making this recording. “I played last year at the Spectaculare Festival in Prague,” said David, “I had a solo performance followed by Arve playing with Christian Fennesz. At the end of the Festival, we shared our contact details. In a few months, we met again on stage at the Hevhetia Festival in Slovakia.” The performance was such a bonding experience that the two chose to record an album together.
In December 2017, David spent a week in the city of Florence, Italy as the guest of his fellow trumpeter and friend Paolo Ranieri. This was the perfect setting to start sketching out improvisations that would become part of the Illusion of a Separate World. David drew inspiration from life’s trials and tribulations or from the environment around him. “I played them as musical diaries,” said David. Soundscapes, moody riffs and rhythmic works emerged. He recorded 17 tracks and then gave them to Arve, who layered trumpet, voice and electronics over them.
Through this joining of two unique worlds, in both geographical and cultural sense, the duo has created an anthemic album which reveals an intimate connection. It goes from the moments of quietness that slowly turn into walls of orchestral sounds as in Night Navigator, to the tribal drumming rhythms that Henriksen enriches with his voice-like trumpet in Chimera. When the guitarist transforms a simple clacking on strings into a weird rhythm as in Silk Spinning, Henriksen then turns it into a pastoral melody. When the trumpeter switches to his trademark soft-speaking voice, as in Mirror Transformations, Kollar places himself in a more subtle context, camouflaging his guitar in a synth-like draping. The Slovakian guitarist then takes the stage and hints at his Americana influences with a delicate guitar and trumpet solo in Solarization, which eventually morphs into an ethnic-flavored electronic experience. Suspended over Kollar’s cloudy drone, Castles in the Air is Arve Henriksen at his best, playing one of his most iconic solos. But he can also turn into some of the most intricate and haunting melodies as in the unsettling Roving Observer, for which Kollar was initially inspired by the movie director Tarkovsky.
Photo: Arnold Horvath (Kollar) and Frank Schemmann (Henriksen)