Home is Jan Gunnar Hoff’s fourth solo piano album on the 2L label. It is one of 5 albums from 2L featuring Hoff available at the NativeDSD Music store (see links below). This album is now available in 7.1.4 Channel Discrete DXD Immersive Audio and 7.1.4 Channel Auro3D 96k Immersive Audio. In addition to Stereo and 5.1 Channel Surround Sound DSD 256, DSD 128, DSD 64 and DXD plus Stereo DSD 512.
Home can be seen both as an homage to and as a statement of belonging to northern Norway, with its naked landscape and its Arctic location. The title can also allude to a quest for identity, both from a personal and from an artistic perspective. All these sentiments and aspirations find expression in the music on this album. Some of the pieces here are interpretations of well known themes including What Might Have Been by Mike Stern, Summertime by George Gershwin and Moon River by Henry Mancini, while others are original compositions by Hoff. Some of the pieces are completely improvisatory.
Jan Gunnar Hoff tells us the story behind the album: “In May 2021 Morten Lindberg got in touch with me and asked if I could make a solo recording in Stormen Concert Hall in Bodø. With open minds and very few pre-conceived ideas we went ahead and, broadly speaking, took things as they came – the way we felt at the time, the actual piano and the concert hall itself determining what we recorded for two days in August that year. This album does not aim to present a particular genre, with all the expectations such a commitment might carry, but rather to give each number its own shape and style. When you interpret text-based songs instrumentally it’s best to keep a sharp focus on melody, rhythm and phrasing. By freeing the phrasing of the melody from the constraints of a fixed tempo, I can put more strength and intensity into my interpretation, and broaden and embolden the melodic material.”
Home was recorded at Stormen Konserthuis in Bodo, Norway during August 2021 using DPA Microphones, Horus Analog to Digital Converters and a Pyramix Workstation connected with Ravenna Audio over IP (AoIP) from Merging Technologies with Genelec One Loudspeakers as monitors. The album was produced with financial support from The Arctic University of Norway (UIT).
Jan Gunnar Hoff – Piano
Total time: 00:59:03
|Analog to Digital Converters||
Horus, Merging Technologies at DXD (352.8 kHz)
Jan Gunnar Hoff & Morten Lindberg
The album was produced with financial support from The Arctic University of Norway (UIT)
Morten Lindberg (DXD), Tom Caulfield (DSD)
Genelec One Loudspeakers
|Original Recording Format|
Stormen Concert Hall in Bodo, Norway during August 2021
|Release Date||April 26, 2022|
Part Time Audiophile
Whenever I listen to a Jan Gunnar Hoff album from 2L Recordings, I always think about that razor’s edge between improvisation and adhering to the original composition. I feel that sometimes with Jan Gunnar Hoff, that he’s riding that whirlwind and just acting as a conduit for some divine inspiration.
After listening to his latest album, Home, I see more of the original composition than usual, but I also wonder the actual ration between the music that’s written down and the music that only exists in the moment. Jan Gunnar Hoff is primarily a romantic composer, and the big sound of his piano will sweep you away with its beauty and thunder and its intuition, but that’s juxtaposed with Hoff’s stunning and emotional performance of standards such as “Moon River” and “Summertime.” That makes Home more of a singular piece, with a singular theme, which shouldn’t surprise you with a 2L Recording.
Strangely enough, the story behind this recording is quite improvisational in spirit. 2L’s Morten Lindberg asked Jan Gunnar Hoff if he wanted to record solo piano works in the Stormen Concert Hall in Bodø, and the duo decided to let the venue dictate the program based on the sonic results. Home was recorded in two days, and it is exactly as I described. A mix of improvisation and standards that are so fluid that you will no longer care about the thought processes behind it all.
That is the magic of Home, of course, that this is music to drift to, music that helps you dislodge the heaviness of the day. Quite honestly, the first three times I listen to Jan Gunnar Hoff’s performance here I fell asleep. Not because it was boring, of course, but because it made me forget about all the problems in the world so I could spend some important me time thinking about nothing. It helps, of course, that the Stormen Concert Hall is a clear and dynamic space, somewhat less warm than the usual Norwegian churches, but Home still emerges as another 2L landmark in sound quality.
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