Guardian UK Review:
This duo’s sonically colourful, teemingly inventive album splices its title from the west Norwegian island of Sula and a popular synonym for the Caribbean island of Martinique. Nordic ambient trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær has origins on the former and Mino Cinélu, the former Weather Report and Miles Davis percussionist, has family from the latter. If the intertwining of those far-flung roots suggests wide-open spaces, jazz/improv surprises and African rhythmic inspirations, they’re all sewn into the tapestry of this entrancing session. Cinélu says: “We both know each other’s cultures, we find bridges and crossings, and when we walk these paths they lead in the same direction.”
Some of these 14 tracks are a minute or two long, some are evolving collages of booming gong-like sounds, hand-drum flurries, electronic harmonies or twisting, Miles Davis-like horn improv. A minimally lonesome trumpet call might be answered by Cinélu’s pattering tabla rhythms or soft acoustic guitar chords, while a deliciously lazy groove (such as that of the ambling New York Stroll) triggers jazz-fusion recollections of the Amandla-era Miles recordings of the 1980s, to which Cinélu contributed. There are pieces mixing distantly whispery vocals with Afrobeat, or spikier improv jams colliding vocal exclamations and scurrying post-bop trumpet runs, as on the jazzy Take the A♯ Train – while the set’s finale, a reprise of the title track, is a bluesy guitar-accompanied folk song, on which Molvær’s fragile acoustic-trumpet probings are at their most minimally succinct. SulaMadiana is like eavesdropping on an evolving multilingual conversation, but one with an invite open to all.
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