Katt Hernandez & John Andrew Wilhite-Hannisdal – Bei-spiel Kartografi (Motvind Records 2020,
Release date: 31 October 2020
Of all the things that have come from the USA in the past century, music is probably the most interesting.
Katt Hernandez and John Andrew Wilhite-Hannisdal are Americans living here in Scandinavia, and they are
technical revolutionaries on the violin and double bass. Now they’ve come out with a record that takes us out
from between the rock and the hard place that is contemporary politics and into a world of potentiality and
allegory, full of imaginary lands, peoples and music traditions. Constant talk of crises is an unfortunate
consequence of uneasy times, but as a record company, we would like to let you know: hope is still alive.
A music that could have been, or could yet come to life. Or just is. The close and curious interplay follows a
logic that always lets the listener be a part of this «potential» folk music. From the faintest sounds, where
they’re barely breathing on the strings, all the way to music that makes us get up and dance, the record holds
an intensity that is at once dramatic and elegant. The titles come both from historic and fictive places, fitting
into an alternative map. There’s something hopeful about the record as well— not everything was better in
the past, but some things probably were. The music for instance? What do we really know about how music
sounded 150, 750, 3 750 and 18 750 years ago? Or the same amount of years into the future? As improvisers,
Hernandez and Wilhite-Hannisdal are making a glorious attempt in approaching this idea. And it is pleasant
that music with this approach fits this well into the catalogue of Motvind Records.
It’s really an honor for Motvind Records to present Katt Hernandez to new listeners. Since the early 90’s,
Hernandez has done so much to bring music forward (and to keep alive those parts which were under threat!).
Already as a teenager, she was aware that she’d be a different kind of violinist, having heard a solo concert of
LaDonna Smith. She worked with mechanical instruments like tape recorder and modular synths, but then
decided to focus on acoustic violin. A student of Joe Maneri, Hernandez learned his 72 tone microtonal
system, and inherited his resistance to genre restrictions. Among other things, Hernandez has played
Rembetica, americana, punk, sufi, klezmer, Anatolian music, psych, classical, and jazz. A resident Swede
since 2010, her playing style is a joy to behold. Creativity and a richness of ideas, together with technical
ability, make it possible for Hernandez to not just play these musics, but play with them.
John Andrew Wilhite-Hannisdal is of the younger generation, but he is also extremely interesting both
musically and technically. He moved to Norway in 2016 to work with New Music bass wizard Håkon Thelin.
He’s also a former student of Reggie Workman of the Jazz Messengers/John Coltrane Quartet, so we’re
talking about another musician with a diverse background. As a member of the Andreas Røysum Ensemble,
his sophisticated bass-playing is known to the listeners of Motvind Records, but we’re sure that he’ll soon be
very well known in his own right. He’s a serious musician with a warm, full sound. He’s also extremely
active as a composer. Wilhite-Hannisdal works with material as diverse as Cod-fish-mating-sounds and
chess, and he writes everything from solo bass works to commissions from The Norwegian National Opera
In a way, this record reminds us of what’s good about America. The metaphor of the melting pot, where
there’s space enough for everything and everyone, and one doesn’t know what will come out when you mix it
up. We here in Scandinavia are lucky to have such capasities like Hernandez and W-H living here and
making music on our peninsula.
This record is published in a limited run of 100 vinyl records, as well as digitally. The LP covers are
handmade and designed by Philadelphia based artist Erik Ruin.
To contact the artists directly, please write to katt (at) katthernandez (dot) net or jawilhite (at) gmail (dot) com