On their second album, the young but experienced duo of Gunnar Halle (trumpet) and Espen Eriksen (piano) use psalms as a point of departure for lovely, challenging and searching improvisations. Their mode of expression ranges from dark and introspective to more rhythmically playful and exalted. The project presents both well-known and less familiar psalms in new and stimulating ways, and at the same time demonstrates the strength and durability that characterizes this material. The duo's debut recording was the critically-acclaimed album Meditations on Christmas in 2010, which featured improvisations based on Christmas hymns and folk songs. Psalm is a continuation of this project, but this time they are using hymns and psalms from the entire church year. "Relating to these hymns and folk songs on purely musical terms, without thinking about how they are usually played, was such an interesting proposition that we wanted to keep going," says pianist Espen Eriksen. He developed a close connection with these psalms when he worked as a substitute organist in his youth. "The challenge of approaching this material and the attraction it holds are in a way two sides of the same coin," according to the two musicians. In many cases the key was to eliminate the original harmonies. "When you're left with only the melody, it's much easier to come up with ideas for both arrangements and improvisations." The duo had already presented a number of church concerts with this material before going into the studio. "In the beginning we were afraid that it might appear offensive and disrespectful to give familiar and beloved festival hymns completely new packaging. But actually we have had only positive feedback from audiences of all ages, and people are delighted to hear the old hymns and folk songs, some of which are quite ancient, in an entirely new way." The album was recorded at the legendary Rainbow Studio in Oslo in the course of two short and intense sessions.