Eivind Aarset

Music Media Monthly

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I have to admit it: I’m a sucker for any album that lists a dictaphone among the instruments used during the recording process. So here’s the thing about guitarist Eivind Aarset: he’s one of those guitarists who seems interested in doing everything except make guitar-y noises. That orientation can be a recipe for disastrous, noisy self-indulgence, or it can be the springboard to a completely different (and thoroughly rewarding) kind of music. For Aarset, it’s the latter. On this album he is accompanied by sample-manipulator and computer programmer Jan Bang (the one credited with playing the dictaphone), and the two of them create what can only be called dreamscapes: at any given moment it’s impossible to tell for certain how any particular sound is being made–though I’m willing to bet a small amount of money that what sounds like a marimba at the beginning of “Jukal (Sea of Trees)” is really Aarset’s guitar–and there is very rarely anything going on that can reasonably be described as a melody. And yet the layers of sound, both pitched and unpitched, and the slow eruptions of subdued noise are never less than capivating. I don’t know how these guys do it; I only know that it’s going to stay on heavy rotation on my stereo. Grade: A+