Thu Feb. 16, 2017

Eivind Aarset (N)

Eivind Aarset: guitar, electronics
Audun Erlien: bass
Wetle Holte: drums
Erland Dahlen: drums, percussion
David Solheim: sound

The north European jazz and new-music scene isn’t short of effects pedal-toting guitarists, but the Norwegian Eivind Aarset is in a class of his own. Aarset has worked for leaders as different as Dhafer Youssef and Ute Lemper, and he currently plays in saxophonist Andy Sheppard’s new quartet – but I.E. may be his most ambitious album yet. It features his core quartet, plus a horn section and some input from sampling maestro Jan Bang. However far out he gets, and however thickly stacked the textures become, Aarset almost always sounds melodic. Some tracks here crash into life but then turn into quiet, Latin-jazzy strummings; Sakte opens on sliding guitar whines then moves into violin-like pure tones and ticking-clock grooves; Through Clogged Streets, Passed Rotten Buildings shifts from crunching guitar rock to tranquil resignation. It’s a wild and sometimes uncomfortable listen, but proves that lyricism and raw noise aren’t contradictory. (The Guardian)