January 20, 2023—Drifting, the new album from Sámi-Norwegian composer and saxophonist Mette Henriette, is out today on ECM Records—listen/share here.
Mette Henriette previously shared two album tracks, “Drifting” and “I villvind,” to critical praise; The Guardian proclaims “best of all might be ‘I villvind,’ where a repeated, tumbling piano figure is accompanied by Henriette freaking out in the most gentle, ECM-ish manner imaginable.”
Recorded at the recently relocated Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, Drifting was completed at Studios La Buissonne with Grammy-winning producer Manfred Eicher and features pianist Johan Lindvall and cellist Judith Hamann. The 15-track record takes Mette Henriette in a bold new direction, as she connects with her deeper musical consciousness to reveal a compelling instrumental narrative.
“For me, a very important tool in the compositional process is to let ideas mature to the extent that they start living their own lives,” Mette Henriette says. “Then things just spontaneously come to the surface in different pieces and start interconnecting. And I like playing with prepositions in music. Shedding light on different things from different perspectives, playing with foreground and background, repositioning elements and flipping arrangements. To me, that’s how different improvisational opportunities come to life.”
Drifting follows Mette Henriette’s self-titled 2015 record; a project that made her the first artist to release a double debut album on the renowned jazz label ECM Records. The LP was released to widespread critical acclaim, named “jazz album of the year 2015” by The Independent, while The Guardian praised Mette Henriette as “a contemporary-music star on the rise.” It includes 90 minutes of music composed over a period of 10 years for her trio and large ensemble and consists of jazz, classical and tango musicians.
Born in Trondheim, Norway, Mette Henriette became involved with performing arts at a young age, establishing her own ensembles and touring with musicians from jazz conservatories before she left her hometown to work on projects around the world. Today, she is one of the most innovative and prolific composers working worldwide—collaborations include performances with Marina Abramovic, music with CocoRosie for Robert Wilson’s Edda, work with Nicolas Jaar and more. Her compositions are featured in institutions across Europe, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, where her music is incorporated into the audio guide of the museum’s Edvard Munch exhibition. Later this month, three of her orchestra works—commissioned by Oslo Philharmonic and Klaus Mäkelä—will debut on YouTube. Additionally, the world premiere of her string orchestra piece—commissioned by Arctic Philharmonic—will debut inside a coal mine in Svalbard, Norway, at the Arctic Chamber Music Festival in February. In 2025, the saxophonist will launch an interactive sound installation for a glass elevator on research exhibition vessel REV Ocean.
Beyond her work as a performer and composer, Mette Henriette develops choreographic concepts for her works on stage and screen. The experimental short film Háldi—featuring Mette Henriette as actress, composer and co-writer—has been screened at 13 international film festivals and was featured in the opening exhibition of The Norwegian National Museum in 2022. Her ongoing project, a trans-disciplinary stage piece co-produced by multiple international festivals including Manchester International Festival, will take to stages in European theaters in 2024 and 2025.
METTE HENRIETTE LIVE
February 25— Svalbard, Norway—Arctic Chamber Music Festival