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På skive


«Grain Live»

In 2021, Swedish, young experimentalist guitarist Kasper Agnas immersed himself in the past in a new type of timbre for him, a place where the sound has time to rest. He faced a sonic kōan – what really happens – or sounds – when only the seed of a piece of music remains? He attempted to answer this kōan in his debut solo album Grain (Haphazard Music, 2021). Grain Live, recorded at Fylkingen in Stockholm in March 2021 expands Agnas’ answers to this kōan with live, thoughtful and reimagined versions of the semi-open compositions that were featured on Grain.

Grain Live features three pieces, all focusing on one, minimalist sonic approach or idea and exploring its subtle nuances and depths, with an impressive sense of command and beauty. The opening piece «1992» – the year that Agnas was born, suggests a cyclical and urgent yet hypnotic rhythmic attack with the electric guitar placed on Agnas’ lap and sounds like a kind of futurist dulcimer. Agnas takes a completely different approach on the second piece «Mirrored Memories» and gently caresses the neck of his guitar with a soft mallet and creating meditative and quite reverent, ethereal organ-like sounds, but towards the end of this piece, he introduces more raw, resonant but dissonant sounds, now hitting the strings with the mallet stick.

The last piece, the 19-minute «Far Away, Closer» suggest another approach, but again with a different vertiginous, meditative mode. First, he plays simple, jangly chords, highly resonant and sounding as if suspended in time. Agnas allow them to linger for introspection, but slowly this disciplined, minimalist approach morphs into an unsettling one, with brief, disturbing disc-skipping effects, evoking a feeling of the ground shifting beneath one’s feet. As Brian Olewnick, who wrote the short liner note – and the biography of Keith Rowe, a clear seminal influence on Agnas – wrote: «In Agnas’ hands, the electric guitar continues to reveal undreamt of possibilities».


Kasper Agnas (el.g)

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