Two Scandinavian experimental guitarists with like-minded aesthetics.
Norwegian, Berlin-based Fredrik Rasten’s new solo album Lineaments features two compositions for extended instrumentation of guitars, voice and sine waves. These compositions were recorded in Berlin in July 2021 and February 2022. The cover artwork reflects on the minimalist, mysterious nature of the music and depicts a model sailplane in flight against a background of blue sky and clouds coalescing with the material wear of the forty-year-old source photo from Rasten’s father’s model sailplane days. The extension of the photo exposes a rural landscape, grounding the airy union of plane and sky. In geology, lineaments are topographic elements revealing the underlying subsurface structure. Similarly, just intonation chords are tones drawn to each other to form a consonant structure, unveiling the underlying harmonic series.
These extended compositions begin with two different plucking patterns played on one acoustic guitar and one electric guitar, both sharing a specific tuning, and both activated with electronic bows. These compositions explore slowly and patiently subtle and minimalist diverging tempos and structures. Rasten’s vulnerable humming voice together with the delicate sine waves intensify the rich harmonic textures. These two «Lineament» compositions were inspired by the ancient Hindustani Dhrupad tradition, where fine-grained intonations of tones and their timbral changes in the fusion of vocals and the tanpura strings evoke a deep meditative listening experience. This most beautiful music is bound to re-calibrate your body and soul with its rumbling resonances and glistening overtones.
The EP 1305 is the first presentation of Swedish, Stockholm Kasper Agnas as a composer. There are two distinct pieces here, one for an ensemble of 14 musicians, including six guitarists, and another solo piece for piano. These compositions reflect Agans’ search for capturing eternity in music, trying to frame the feeling of being unexpectedly thrown into something that doesn’t have an end.
The shorter ensemble piece «Imber» follows Agans’ cyclical and minimalist, rhythmic guitar phrase and offers a «rain of notes» contrasted by a static rhythmical pattern of handclaps that emphasize the light floating feeling «of not standing on solid ground». The longer solo piece «Little towels of air, warm and wrapping against the heart», borrows its poetic title from a short story by American writer and poet Tao Lin, and was inspired by the economic writing of Ernst Hemingway. Johan Graden plays here the piano in an even more minimalist and sparse, Morton Feldman-esque manner and in a way that corresponds with the ethereal and meditative «Lineament» compositions of Rasten.
Fredrik Rasten (g, v, sine waves, metal chain), Kasper Agnas (g, p), Mandus Almqvist (g), Niklas Fite (g), Albin Vestberg (g), Anton Toorell (g), David Stackenäs (resonator g), Emil Strandberg (tp), Mauritz Agnas (b), Vilhelm Bromander (b), Max Agnas (hand clap), Alexander Zethson (hand clap), Josefin Runsteen (hand clap), Andreas Hiroui Larsson (hand clap), Nils Agnas (hand clap), Kasper Agnas (bass dr), Johan Graden (p)