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Jan Bang, master manipulator of sound, has done wonderful things with other musicians, including the trumpeter Arve Henriksen, with whom he performed live at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival a few years back. Here he joins Aarset to further enhance the guitarist’s already rich palette of string-driven sounds.
Of course, even within Aarset’s solo work the joins between guitar and electronic are invisible; here we get a quiet, spacious sonic landscape with washes and gentle riffs underlying a wide range of foreground textures and melodic fragments.
The titles give you hints of what lies within: Black Silence, The Whispering Forest, The Beauty of Decay. There is a remarkable consistency of mood throughout the album, and at no point does the volume or the pace rise. A piece like Active is little more than harmonics and string plucks with varying electronic auras about them, and yet it is absolutely compelling. Real “leaning-towards” music, in order to catch every nuance.
If you are a fan of Nils Petter Molvaer, Food and Bugge Wesseltoft, do try this disc. It’s particularly pleasurable as an accompaniment to dead-of-winter quiet reflection.