«Devotional» is the last chapter in the Grenzgänger trilogy of Danish composer-guitarist-poet-curator-scholar Jakob Thorkild, following «Art Sleaze» and «Be Strong» (Kontentum, 2014 and 2016). This trilogy reflects the existential process that Thorkild has experienced as a musician and creative artist, his dilemmas, doubts, beliefs, imagination and identity throughout the last years. And as the title of the trilogy suggests, it offers a cross-genre aesthetics that encompasses art rock with metal and free jazz with avant-garde.
The three albums stressed Thorkild idiosyncratic language that refuses to settle in any genre, style and convention, seeking freedom through improvisation, dissonant and chaotic extremes and abstract, painting-like soundscapes. «Devotional» refines this highly individual sonic vision and shifts its center of gravity from a strong muscular side, as the previous albums featured bass player Nils Bo Davidsen and drummer P.O. Jørgens, to a feminine and reconciled center, featuring now electric violinist Andrea Rebekka Alsted and vocalist Anna Mose, of the vocal quintet IKI.
«Devotional» also marks Thorkild way into the spiritual and perhaps even religious sphere. The meditative delivery of Moss, as well as her hypnotic voice, whispers and wordless expressions emphasize a sacred tone. The minimalist, repetitive violin of Alsted intensifies the religious, spacious ambience. Thorkild keeps more degrees of freedom but his thorny electric guitar is more reserved this time, compared to the previous albums and deepens the contemplative atmosphere of this album.
Thorkild says that he is not yet fully reflecting on the personal process that he has experienced while creating this trilogy, but a «preliminary sentence» directs him to face the sun. The unique, ascetic beauty of Devotional and its optimist tone reassures this observation.
Andrea Rebekka Alsted (vio), Anna Mose (v), Jakob Thorkild (g)