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«The Problem With Livia»

American-Norwegian guitarist Ed Pettersen explored in 2019 the incredible acoustic space of the Emmanuel Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, a dark room covered in frescos of naked figures, with his electric lap steel guitar on his debut solo album «Vigeland» (Split Rock, 2020). Obviously, this unique and highly satisfying experience had left a deeply spiritual, haunting impression on Pettersen.

Pettersen, who rarely is drawn to playing solo and likes the energy of collaboration, did not feel like replicating this solo experience until French improviser Christian Vasseur asked him to contribute to his weekly pandemic collaborations. After recording to Vasseur, Pettersen let the tape roll, played and improvised on his 8 string Weissenborn with few keyboards and a modular synth, and created a series of winding and wistful pieces in memory of his experience at the mausoleum.

The fourteen brief improvisations of «The Problem With Livia» (most likely, titled after the problematic mother of Tony Soprano in the HBO TV Series) were recorded in Pettersen’s home in Nashville in November 2020 and imagine free-associative sonic wanderings through abstract sceneries and fond memories. The relaxed, breezy and intimate tone of the Weissenborn guitar and the piano contrasts the vintage, intense and raw drone sounds of the other keyboards and synth and suggests continuous tension. Pettersen does not attempt to resolve this tension but employs it to feed his sonic experiments with haunting, cinematic dimensions.

Eyal Hareuveni

Ed Pettersen (8 string Weissenborn, keys, modular synth)

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