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Review: Eric Dahlman – ‘Glacier’ (Released Feb. 1, 2016)

Boston, Massachusetts trumpeter Eric Dahlman has had quite a varied career. Besides playing alongside late free jazz musician Hal Russell and his NRG Ensemble, Dahlman’s also performed with The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, The Travis Chandler Philharmonic, Auddity, The Calypso Invaders, Little Mystery, and others. Dahlman has also forged a solo career for himself, having released two albums to date, 2007’s Ripped Echo and 2016's Glacier.

Glacier is a vast canvas of aural paintings featuring ambient collages, chants, and sound effects, tied together by haunting meditative and often experimental jazz. It’s at times slow and chilling, like its namesake, at others, warm and spiritual in nature. Although there are individual tracks on the album with brief moments of silence between them, listening, I find it more like one whole piece of music, as themes recur and moods slowly shift: from the pure, crystal chill of Lilies, with its ringing bells and echoing trumpet; to the warm and easy groove of Once Again, with its vibrant acoustic guitar; to deep, profound moments like Ablation, with its spacey drones and half chanting, half singing voices.

I particularly like way Dahlman and his producer Mike Mayo have mixed this album, creating deep layers of sound without ever making it muddy. Every layer is clearly heard, the deeper you listen. The ears pick this on every track as ambient textures, mysterious melodies, percussion and natural sounds fade in and out, weave around each other, creating a hallucinatory dreamscape, a shamanic journey open to rich interpretations. Some of the tracks off the album can be heard in the movie The Bear Cult, a documentary about man’s relationship with bears, from prehistoric times to present day. I can hear that temporal dynamic echoing throughout the music on Glacier, as sometimes it feels ancient and primal, with the sounds of nature and deep earthy drones, but at other times it can bring you into the modern era with hummable melodies and the background noise of civilization.

I heartily recommend this to fans of artists like John Hassell, Brian Eno, even Miles Davis. This is jazz, but like those great artists that came before, it pushes the boundaries of what both jazz and music in general can do. But Eric Dahlman does it in a way that’s not harsh to the ears; exotic, maybe, but always a pleasure to listen to.

For more info, and to purchase the album, visit:

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