Somnambule - Writing About Music

Eivind Aarset

15 November 2005


Eivind Aarset steals onto the stage on padded paws. His white-blond hair, snow-pale complexion and black clothing bestow upon him the air of a wraith. As he makes his entrance, so too with the music: drummer Wetle Holte and bass player ? accompany him on fingertips. After a series of tender/brief passages, Aarset switches to cascade mode and then wolf howl. Holte upshifts in parallel, stamping out giant’s footfalls. Together they assemble a jigsaw puzzle collage, unexpected pieces joined to form a intimately disjunctive whole.

Morricone-esque reverbs, drenched power chords are combined in unhurried, confident fashion with an impressive sense of space. Aarset is always gentle and meditative, even the most fiery of noises are the result of a caress rather than violence. His zen-like approach creates simple structures. Detail and repetition encourages contemplation of the moment, of presence and absence. His style is almost more incense than anything achieved by more traditional guitar performance. There are echoes of Terje Rypdal and early Frissell, but Eivind Aarset is very much a post-Eno, post-electronica guitarist. In this, he’s rare indeed and each release is very much worthy of excitement.

Colin Buttimer
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