Eivind Aarset

Eivind Aarset is a musician who has succeeded in the difficult task of creating an immediately identifiable sound and marrying it to a will to investigate as many musical possibilities as he can find or imagine. I.E. is his latest and arguably most accomplished album embodying these traits, following on from the ECM release, Dream Logic, and a run of superb albums for Jazzland Recordings (Electronique Noire, Light Extracts, Connected, Sonic Codex, & Live Extracts). This new material offers listeners a whole new dynamism and expansiveness – essentially the basis of a whole new sonic experience.

Aarset's Sonic Codex Orchestra is an organism capable of transformation, camouflage, symbiosis, and adaptation within any musical environment. It is truly multifaceted, and whether careering along a riff like an open-throttle diesel engine or gliding along gentle air currents through an ambient sky, the personality of every musician finds a place to make its mark. In terms of this flexibility, Audun Erlien's keyboard work (something for which he rarely receives enough credit, overshadowed as it is by his marvellous double-jointed grooving bass work) is of particular note, as is Wetle Holt and Erland Dahlen's menagerie of struck instruments, particularly the dulcimers and glockenspiels that create many highlight moments on the latest Aarset opus, I.E.


Of course, Aarset's guitar remains the dominant force throughout any performance, but never overpowers the music as a whole. His endless skill in finding the right notes to play, whether in a sparse ambient environment or a chaotic crescendo of polyphonic revelry, is a marvel to behold. I.E. marks yet another move upward in Aarset's ascent towards the summit of his powers: long may he climb!