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,
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!