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-This is a monumental entry in the guitarist’s catalog. JAZZnBluesClub
–Det går lang tid mellom hver gang jeg hører så intressant musikk med gitar plassert i førersetet. Jazznytt
Eivind Aarset is a guitarist with a unique musical vision that absorbs and reflects all manner of music while retaining an enviable individualism and high quality craftsmanship that can span from quiet intimacy to searing intensity. His debut as a bandleader on Jazzland Recordings was described by the New York Times as “One of the best post-Miles electric jazz albums,” setting a high benchmark that Aarset has consistently met and exceeded, both in the studio and in live performance.
«Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey» is the latest album by the Eivind Aarset 4tet, released September 2021 at Punkt Festival, Kristiansand. Featuring Eivind Aarset, Wetle Holte, Erland Dahlen and Audun Erlien, the album is no departure in terms of the compositional quality contained therein, as it remains gold standard. But sonically and texturally? This album features more traditional guitar sounds and techniques than can be found on almost all of his previous albums taken together, while still incorporating his signature tonal manipulations that render the guitar sound into almost unrecognizable forms.
The album traverses the full gamut of the instrument’s tonal possibilities, from Joe Pass tones to ambient textural soundbeds, from blistering shredding to controlled noise and signal. The line-up is augmented by Jan Bang and John Derek Bishop on several tracks, and Arve Henriksen on one.. The compositions by turns can be straightforward instrumentals with a heavy groove, rhapsodic tone poems, quasi-ambient jazz, expressionistic campaigns of sonic annihilation, delicate variations and improvisational explorations built upon melody and harmony, and, not infrequently, a combination of any or all of the above. The “Different Kind of Journey” of “Phantasmagoria” takes us through a preamble consisting of the hazy fuzz of “Intoxication” with its lazy backbeat and psychedelic tightrope walk of dreamscape over chaos, to “Pearl Hunter” with its bossanova groove filtered through ambient rock.
Photos: Matthias Creutziger.
“Phantasmagoria, Or a Different Kind of Journey” is an album that delivers a multifaceted experience: it is a soundtrack to an inner journey of remembered or imaginary landscapes and spaces; a travelogue of musical styles, sounds and eras; a simulacrum of the live touring experience. This album, perhaps more than any of his previous releases, is one that proudly and confidently wears Aarset’s influences on its sleeve – a bold move, but one that serves to underline how he is infinitely more than the sum of those influences. This latest chapter in his weaving of the unified tapestry of his career shows how Aarset is capable of finding new threads in unexpected colours, of innovation and reinvention.
As one of Norway’s most in-demand guitarists, Eivind Aarset has worked with Jon Hassell, David Sylvian, Bill Laswell, Jan Garbarek, Paolo Fresu, Marilyn Mazur, J.Peter Schwalm, Mike Manieri, Marc Ducret, Michel Benitas Ethics, Martux-M, Stefano Battaglia, Michele Rabbia, Talvin Singh, and Andy Sheppard. He has worked with Nils Petter Molvaer’s band, (appearing on all of Molvaer’s albums, including the breakthrough album «Khmer» and 2006’s award-winning «ER»). He also has collaborated with Dhafer Youssef, both live and in the studio.
«Tilnærmingen hans er så ukonvensjonell at den har noe banebrytende ved seg…...Det ligger mange års arbeid til grunn for det Eivind Aarset og bandet kan presentere i dag. Gitaristen har blitt en anfører i faget. Det er en deilig modenhet i det som gjøres, og de får akkurat den massive applausen de fortjener» Jazz i Norge om opptreden på Punkt festival.