Mathias Eick's 'Midwest': A Musical Landscape After a tour through the Upper Midwest, the trumpeter pays tribute to the Norwegian settlers' arrival on the American plains with his new album, Midwest.
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Mathias Eick's 'Midwest': A Musical Landscape

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Mathias Eick's 'Midwest': A Musical Landscape

Review

Music

Mathias Eick's 'Midwest': A Musical Landscape

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Many Midwesterners have Norwegian roots and the region's history has inspired Norwegian musician Mathias Eick. A couple years ago, the trumpeter toured the region and was surprised to find that it felt like home. On his new recording, "Midwest," he pays a tribute to Norwegian settlers on the American plains. Michelle Mercer has our review.

(SOUNDBITE OF MATHIAS EICK SONG, "HEM")

MICHELLE MERCER, BYLINE: When Mathias Eick arrived in the upper Midwest, he found a deep affinity for the landscape. On his new CD, "Midwest," he composes musical impressions of the landscape like paintings. Here on the title track, piano ostinatos suggest rolling plains, Eick's trumpet evokes the horizon and the violin's Norwegian folk strings bring immigrants into the picture.

(SOUNDBITE OF MATHIAS EICK SONG, "MIDWEST")

MERCER: Eick's strong melodies and folk-infused jazz remind me of older recordings from Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett and Jan Garbarek. But as Eick was composing this music, along with his own sense of the Midwestern landscape, he was thinking of how Norwegian immigrants might've encountered those wide open spaces. On this tune, "Fargo," the music alternates between a resolute melody and a humbler hymn-like theme, and you can almost feel the immigrants facing up to the starkness of the plains.

(SOUNDBITE OF MATHIAS EICK SONG, "FARGO")

MERCER: Some listeners may not hear any more on this recording than they'd see on a drive down a Midwestern interstate. Mathias Eick is a minimalist who deals primarily in atmosphere and mood. That makes for a subtle sort of Norwegian Americana, and to a native Midwesterner like me, it sounds as familiar and natural as home.

(SOUNDBITE OF MATHIAS EICK SONG, "FARGO")

CORNISH: The album from Mathias Eick is "Midwest." Our reviewer is Michelle Mercer.

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