Eivind Aarset 4-Tet: Phantasmagoria

Another set of electronically enhanced sound washes from the Norwegian guitarist and friends, leavened with the occasional groove


In his JJ review of June 2020 Garry Booth gave a favourable four-star review to Eivind Aarset’s collaboration with producer Jan Bang on the Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes album, describing a lot of the music as being “deep into electro-acoustic territory” but suggesting “it was not an uplifting CD for these self-isolating times”. He also opined “this is beyond the bounds of a core jazz or electronica audience”, leaving us with the assumption it had little to offer dyed-in-the-wool jazzers.

Ignoring the not uplifting reference, we are probably here in the same territory as that previous release, as the musicians revel in the collective sounds of electronics, samples and more contemporary exotica. The set is described most aptly in the press release as “an album that delivers a multifaceted experience: a soundtrack to an inner journey of remembered or imaginary landscapes and spaces”.

Indeed one can imagine this music being used on a film soundtrack, possibly in the area of sci-fi or presented in a concert arena with a backdrop of shifting images.

Those who dislike sound-processing used in conjunction with traditional instruments will ignore Aarset’s output as he likes to tinker with the natural sound of his guitar. But those who enjoy a wash of ambient sounds allied to a groove here and there will warm to the modus operandi he and his fellow musicians employ.

(1) Intoxication; Pearl Hunter; Outbound (or) Stubb1; Duloc (or) The Cat’s Eye; (2) Manta Ray (or) Soft Spot; (3) Didn’t See This One Coming; Soft Grey Ghosts (or) Twighlight Chamber; (1) Inbound (or) Stubb2; (4) Light On Sanzu River (or) Dreaming Of A Boat (61.42)
Collectively, Aarset (g, elec, edits); Erland Dahlen (d, pc, logdrum, vib); Audun Erlien (b); Wetle Holt (d, pc, metallophone); Jan Bang (samples); John Derek Bishop (field recordings); Arve Henriksen (t). Oslo, Norway.
Jazzland 377 939 1