The Waves by Espen Sommer Eide

Espen Sommer Eide | The Waves
SOFA (CD/LP)

Out on SOFA the new work by the Bergen based Norwegian composer Espen Sommer Eide. This album is the result of a whole year of recordings that took place in Mastricht, NL, together with guest musicians Martin Taxt and Mari Kvien Brunvoll. 

Eide is famous for his instruments building and a lot of them were used in the making of this album. With them and a long time on his side he explored the old villa owned by the Merres family, room after room, and described a sonic narrative of that space.

Loops linger in between soothing granular noises and suggested harmonies, morphing one into another, static but ever changing. Voices are here used as pure sonic material in which the meaning has lesser importance than the actual sound, which is treated as material for improvisation and a mimic resemblance of the acoustic space. They sound as they were coming from many places at once, as if the room was taken and unfolded like in a cubist painting, providing an acoustic impression of it as whole at once.

Struggling to find a stylistic label for this record, as “ambient” would probably be reductive, the way the sounds are arranged really describe an ambience, providing a sense of inhabitancy and dwelling. The composer is slowly revealing, in every passage of his music, all the small details that often go unnoticed but that we cannot avoid seeing once we see them first.

Overall, despite the outstanding quality of the sounds in this record and the many interesting nuances that bloom continuously, the form of the pieces is often diluted to the point that is easy to stick away from a focused listening and all the care that is put into the microstructural elements that becomes lost due to a macrostructural redundancy. The choice of walking a path in which highly conceptual music and elements of popular music get in contact is never an easy one and here these seem often to interfere rather than intersect. Still, this in only the first solo release coming under the artist’s own name, and I’m strongly convinced that we will have more to look forward to in the time to come.

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