Since making his full-length leader debut with 1998's Électronique Noire, Norway's Eivind Aarset has established himself as an exploratory guitarist, composer, producer and sound designer. His unique musical vision absorbs and reflects influences from many musical genres and approaches. His attention to detail and careful craftsmanship have resulted in recontextualizing the role of the guitar in modern creative music as evidenced by 2007's Sonic Codex and 2012's Dream Logic. 2015's I.E. showcased Aarset's vast textural and dynamic capabilities in pairing a standard rock quartet with brass and woodwinds. In 2019 he worked with percussionist Michele Rabbia and trombonist Gianluca Petrella on the improvised Lost River. A year later, in collaboration with Jan Bang, he issued the sonically dense ambient outing Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes. In 2021 he returned to more conventional guitar sounds on Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind Of Journey leading his own quartet with special guests that included trumpeter Arve Henriksen. Born in Kolbotn, Oppegård, Norway in 1961, Aarset first started playing guitar around age 12 after becoming enamored with the music of Jimi Hendrix. From there, he began listening to a range of rock-oriented bands, including Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and Santana. He later discovered jazz, investigating the works of Miles Davis, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and others. Saxophonist Jan Garbarek and guitarist Terje Rypdal were also early influences. After a period playing in several heavy metal bands, Aarset embarked on a lucrative session career in the '80s, appearing on albums with Marie Boine Persen, Valgeir Gudjonsson, Morten Harket, and others. He also joined his wife, vocalist Anne-Marie Giørtz, in the progressive outfit Ab und Zu, and was a member of saxophonist Bendik Hofseth's group. His musical perspective grew even wider with his involvement with forward-thinking pianist Bugge Wesseltoft and the Oslo Jazz Underground. In 1998, he made his solo debut with Electronique Noire on the Jazzland label. Several more highly regarded efforts followed for the label, including 2001's Light Extracts, 2004's Connected, and 2007's Sonic Codex. In 2012, Aarset signed with ECM and released his fifth full-length album, Dream Logic. I.E. followed in 2016. Two years later, he joined trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer and reggae duo Sly & Robbie for Nordub. Aarset's work in sound design benefitted other artists as well. In 2019 he collaborated with drummer/percussionist Michele Rabbia and trombonist Gianluca Petrella on the completely improvised Lost River for ECM wherein his electronics featured as prominently as his guitar playing. In 2020, he worked with singer, composer Cristina Zavalloni, Quartetto Mirus and others, on the avant classical outing For The Living for Italy's Encore Classical Music & Jazz label. That same year he and Bang released the collaborative ambient outing Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes. for Jazzland. In September 2021 the Eivind Aarset 4tet (including drummer Wetle Holte, percussionist Erland Dahlen and bassist, guitarist, electronicist Audun Erlien) issued Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey for Jazzland. The set included guest spots by Bang, trumpeter/electronicist Arve Henriksen, and electronics producer John Derek Bishop. The set marked a shift for Aarset who, in addition to writing compositions showcased his elevated sound design capabilities, also utilized the guitar in tradtional way for the first time in more than a decade.
© Matt Collar, Thom Jurek /TiVo
© Matt Collar, Thom Jurek /TiVo
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