How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Hans Fjellestad steers a most unusual solo course on 33. Through the technology of this digital age, he augments his piano playing with sampler, synthesizers, accordion, and electronics commingled with street noise and talk recorded in numerous international cities. From an acoustic standpoint, Fjellestad stands as an adventurous experimental improviser who adopts a percussive approach on the keys. He establishes dense layers of cascading sound with spirited runs across the breadth of the keyboard.
The lower end of the sound spectrum is home to much of Fjellestad’s explorations. His notes weigh in heavily, providing substance and body to his performance. Fjellestad also examines the inner workings of the piano, where he plucks and strikes the strings to instill an eerie ambiance. While his playing is fully unstructured and free, his use of electronics establishes a base form of rhythm/movement/continuity/diversity. This augmentation to his acoustic playing builds in levels of stratified sound/noise without sacrificing the musicality of his concepts
Fjellestad paints 13 portraits on this recording. “Smoke Shank” puts his piano improvising on display sans electronic overlay except for an occasional whispered background voice. It shows the introspective side of his thought process and allows him to muse subjectively in conveying images of great sadness. In contrast, “Sult” is a dirge-like experiment on accordion complete with reverberant nuances. Fjellestad enjoys using samples of the human voice as an integral part of the music. This overlaid street talk pops up unexpectedly and normally dissolves as synthesized musical segments take control.
”Pica” again portrays Fjellestad as an acoustic solo artist, although on this piece he expounds from the upper register in contrast to his more ponderous exercises on the lower side. His improvisations throughout the recording provide an insight into his mindset, protraying a musician whose concepts run in the very deep and cavernous pools of his mind.
33 promotes Fjellestad as an innovative musician whose creativity emerges through his internal perspective as well as from the annexation of external factors. He hears music in all things around him, and his combination of these diverse accoutrements translates into a challenging musical experience
Track Listing: San to San (4:47) / Hash Knife (2:12) / Don Garlica (4:02) / Kylling (2:18) / El Cavernario (6:24)
Smoke Shank (7:02) / Sult (2:57) / Wriggling Call (4:22) / Pica (6:00) / Phone Damage (6:46) /
Cabrito (5:31) / Mink Eyed (4:08) / Pacifico (4:57).
Personnel: Hans Fjellestad-piano, sampler, accordion, synthesizer, field recordings. Recorded: September
2001,December 2001, August 2002 to March 2003, San Diego, CA; May 2002, Yokohama, Japan;
Field Recordings: July 1997 to August 2002, Tijuana, Yokohama, Tokyo, Kobe, Kamakura,
Amsterdam, Sonder Omme, Copenhagen, Paris & Prague.
Frank has been a writer of live and recorded music for decades, having published in both hard copy and on-line magazines, and currently he documents the live jazz scene through photography, as evidenced by his AAJ photo collection of about 2,000 shots.