Somnambule - Writing About Music

Eivind Aarset ~ Connected

Connected is Aarset’s third album as leader after 1998’s Electronique Noire and 2001’s Light Extracts. Both of those albums were landmark recordings which mapped out viable, and frequently exciting templates for improvisational interaction with popular electronic forms such as jungle, ambient and techno. The infrequency of his solo albums may in part be attributed to Aarset’s status as guitarist for both Nils Petter Molvaer and Dhafer Youssef.

Connected begins with Family Pictures, a trio for Jan Bang on sampler, Aarset on guitars and electronics and Erik Honore on mix and engineering. The resulting music is a mellifluous synthesis of reedy nostalgia, chiming warmth and glitchy malfunction that is nearer in feel to the likes of Christian Fennesz and Joseph Suchy. On Electro Magnetic In E Marius Reksjø’s acoustic bass and Hans Ulrik’s bass clarinet weave round Wetle Holte’s diamond sharp drums while Aarset creates haunted atmospheres like a sudden shadow obscuring the sun. Throughout Connected Aarset proffers an incredible array of textures and his playing often bears an affinity to camouflage or cloudscapes floating high above beats which shapeshift from moment to moment. Clearly audible throughout are Aarset’s keen melodic ear, strong sense of the contemplative laced with pathos and taste for experiential thrill. At its most animated, whipcrack percussion impacts like pepper spray and the music seems to become the sound of the global mediascape girded with the heritage of Bitches Brew melded with the thrill of breakbeat.
Colin Buttimer
May 2004
Published by Jazzwise magazine