Erik Honore is a Norwegian musician, writer, producer, sound engineer – he’s worked on dozens of albums across his career – collaborating with the likes of Nils Petter Molvaer, Arve Henriksen, Brian Eno and Jon Hassell – Heliographs is his debut solo album. Though of course it’s no solo album; relying – as Honore does – on the talents of others, on creating unique sound collages, texture paintings through and around their ideas.
Here, memorably, the treated vocals of Sidsel Endresen provide one of the album’s high points – Sanctuary is very much a standout, but then it’s also the way this rolls on into Pioneer Trail and that flows in much the same way as Jon Hopkins’ work, albeit ever so slightly jazzy.
The rich, stirring bass-lines (Red Café) and string counterpoints give this, always, a jazz feel without it ever quite truly being a jazz record. It’s reminiscent of Penguin Café Orchestra at times, and the Webster Wraight Ensemble, but also – and probably most tellingly – the way this moves from sound-collage to gorgeous ambient-jazz it feels like something that might happen were Eno to produce a record by Henriksen. This shows the way Honore has been able to absorb workmate influences, to be the glue, the silent force within the music. You hear that here. More importantly, you feel it. Heliographs, named after an early version of photography – the flashes from mirror-pivoting – is a curious and beautiful album, some deep, troubling sound floods here (Last Chance Gas & Water), moments of serene beauty there (Sanctuary Revisited).