Neither/Nor Records

Håvad Volden / Carlo Costa, In the Wake (n/n 010)



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Norwegian guitarist Håvard Volden and New York-city based percussionist Carlo Costa present their first collaboration on record with an album of acoustic improvisations. The music on In the Wake makes use of repetitive patterns, slow development, space, drones and varyingly layered textures through which the two forge surprisingly rich sonic realms and generate a palpable sense of expectation. With a paired-down set up and a minimalist approach Volden and Costa present a subtle yet dramatic album.


Håvard Volden - acoustic guitar

Carlo Costa - percussion

Recorded by Nathaniel Morgan at Firehouse Space in Brooklyn, NY on May 20th, 2016. Mixed by Nathaniel Morgan. Mastered by Christian Næss. All music by Håvard Volden and Carlo Costa. Artwork by Brooke Herr. Design by Carlo Costa.

Release date: December 1, 2017


The New Noise

Il disco di Costa in duo, il nono della sua etichetta nata nel 2014, è un ottimo lavoro, denso di assenze luminose, di abbandoni: il norvegese Volden (già collaboratore di eminenze grigie improv come Toshimaru Nakamura, o della cantante Jenny Hval) porta a questo incontro un po’ di vento artico delle sue terre, mentre Costa aggiunge sabbia, spazio, sassi, sembra letteralmente di muoversi in ampi panorami desolati e allagati da una luce che santifica e contemporaneamente perseguita. Silenzi gravidi, squarci di quiete zen, bagliori, labirinti, galaverne. Anche nel freddo inverno, sotto la coltre di neve che tutto fa tacere, la vita brulica. Ottima e quasi telepatica l’intesa tra i due musicisti, abili nel restare sul bordo del silenzio senza lasciarsi andare a sterili riduzionismi.” (March 6, 2019)

All About Jazz

How would it sound if the American primitive guitar of John Fahey met the avant-garde of abstract jazz improvisation in the wilderness? Guitarist Havard Volden and drummer Carlo Costa give the answer on their album In the Wake

The cover by Brooke Herr is an image of an abstract seascape that resides somewhere between the referential image and a manipulation that goes beyond the image. The same thing goes for the music that uses the recognizable sounds of a strummed guitar and the unrecognizable sounds of scratching cymbals and percussion transformed into something new. The drum set is no longer there, it has disappeared in the air. Percussion plays and becomes something else. (May 28, 2018)

Chicago Reader

“A concise duo album with New York-based Italian drummer Carlo Costa, who has a strong proclivity for using friction instead of drumsticks—which Volden complements perfectly with his splintery acoustic picking. 

Costa rubs objects across the various surfaces of his drum kit, rings bells and strikes pieces of metal, and produces shimmering, vibrating tones by bowing the edges of his cymbals (you can hear this clearly on album opener "Awash," below). His playing provides a mobile canvas for Volden, who plays in a kind of post-Derek Bailey style, except with passages of wandering melody or conventional chords that Bailey would've avoided. The extended silences and woodblock-like pings on the sparse "Ripple" suggest a soundtrack to an off-the-rails Noh theater performance. In the Wake is inviting yet challenging, gently hypnotic yet vividly astringent, and injects its deliciously restrained frameworks with improvisational electricity.” (April 27, 2018)

Jazz Convention

Pannelli d'interscambio e di comunicazione virtualmente priva di filtri, gli intensi passaggi della quadripartita ed intensa In the Wake riescono ad esprimere la concentrazione, meglio la meditazione performante di due spiriti affini ed indipendenti che nei circa 30 minuti del lavoro elargiscono un'idea adeguata di quanto appagante debba essere la cornice di una loro performance live. 

Non latita in effetti un suggestivo spirito teatrante, incarnato dalla perizia scenografica delle plastiche "viventi" animate dalle forze percussive di Carlo Costa, di sfaccettata e mutevole fisionomia sonora, e dall'espressione personalistica delle sei corde nelle ondate creative espresse dall'intenso performer Håvard Volden: così, le fitte tessiture dialogiche, gli atmosferici drones, la comune forza evocativa conformano un'avvincente esperienza d'ascolto che renderà ragioni e motivazioni ulteriori a quanti continuano a credere (nonché ad abbeverarsi, ed istruirsi) al lungimirante spirito della musica istantanea, qui incarnata da due talentuosi visionari d'intensa empatia.“ (April 16, 2018)

Downtown Music Gallery

This disc was recorded at the now defunct Firehouse Space in Brooklyn and it has warm, spacious sound, live sound. While Mr. Volden plays those somber chords, Mr. Costa coaxes out percussive sounds by rubbing of perhaps bowing surfaces: cymbals, drums, who knows..? The first piece is calm yet somewhat eerie. Bowing cymbals has slightly unnerving feeling, like an object trying use its voice. The strings on the guitar ring out gently while Mr. Costa carefully uses a brush or something similar (small chains?) to evoke those mysterious, somewhat organic sounds. Mr. Volden reminds of another Scandinavan acoustic guitarist, Kim Myhr from the band Mural. Both men play their acoustic guitars in hypnotic ways, strumming repeated figures over and over, altering them slightly to keep things unpredictable. There is a good deal of concentration going on here. Drones, sounds being stretched out, expanding and contracting, until the layers become unnerving, evoking dark spirits hovering within. Truly transcendent!” (February 16, 2018)

Salt Peanuts

Both sketch slowly and gently repetitive and minimalist, drone-like patterns, but filling them with healthy doses of space and silence. Surprisingly, this subtle approach suggest rich sonic textures, full of arresting sonic events.

Often, both Volden and Costa weave such a delicate, resonating texture, as on «Pool», that sound as if their instruments extends each other’s sonic ideas, even blending into a colorful universe of floating, evocative sounds. «Ripple» offers ascetic, dramatic narrative that sound as a part of a mysterious ritual, but with surprising playful aspects that brings to mind the masterful ECM album of guitarist Steve Eliovson with late percussionist Collin Walcott («Dawn Dance», 1981). The last piece «Ebb» is a monotonous drone that manages to alternate between meditative ambience and a disturbing, cinematic texture, almost on the same time.” (January 23, 2018)