Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset’s star has risen beyond his native Norway since he came to wider attention on trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer’s breakthrough electronic album Khmer, released in 1997. In jazz, he’s worked/working with Jan Garbarek, Andy Sheppard and Dhafer Youssef, among others.
Right now, with half a dozen excellent albums as leader under his belt, the 59 year old has also become the go-to soundscape artist for contemporary music makers across genres who want a palette of colours that keys can’t produce.
Like Khmer, this latest collaboration with fellow Norseman, the producer Jan Bang, seems destined to be another “hit” beyond the bounds of a core jazz or electronica audience. And that would be some achievement, if my prediction comes true, as much of the music here moves deep into electro-acoustic territory.
The duo (and guests including Molvaer) craft a cornucopia of sounds and textures that provide a sense of form – even where there isn’t one. Only the lullaby like Two Days In June has the semblance of a guitar being played, multi-tracked, across a floating Brian Eno-esque drone.
Bang, a professor of electronic music as well as sampling sideman to experimentalists such as Jon Hassell and singer Sidsel Endresen, is a perfect foil for Aarset. Indeed, it’s hard to separate who brings what to the mix, but the sense of eerie foreboding that predominates is probably down to Bang, a contrast to Aarset’s more mobile, angular contributions.
It’s not an uplifting CD for these self-isolating days – but quite apt.
Purplebright; Asphalt Lake; Before The Wedding; Two Days In June; Outer Sphere; The Witness; Inner Sphere; Serenade; Monochrome; Night Spell (43.00)
Aarset (g, b, synth); Jan Bang (samples, syn, editing). Punkt Studio, Kristiansand, no date.
Jazzland 377 925 0