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Ketil Bjornstad: Before the Light

Glenn Astarita By

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Pianist/composer Ketil Bjornstad is primarily known for his new age, chamber jazz type outings on the ECM record label. This superbly recorded production is framed upon an imaginary soundtrack – composed for a film story, concerning love and so forth, as described within the liners. Bjornstad composed all these works and performs with guitarist Eivind Aarset, violaist Nora Taksdal and synth ace Kjetil Bjerkestrand.

And as those familiar with Bjornstad’s music would surmise, many of these pieces are based upon quaintly rendered themes and wistful melodies. However, textural synths, percussion grooves and Aarset’s often soaring electric guitar lines counterbalance the leader’s predominately ethereal arrangements. Some of the harmonies and melodies are revisited or reworked throughout the program, amid hearty doses of calming passages and airy treatments. Bjornstad and Taksdal render somber lines during their sobering duet work on “Cookie’s Face No.1.” Yet Bjornstad and Bjerkestrand also integrate low-key, scratch turntable fare and expansive synth swashes into “Underground” and other pieces. Overall, a truly amiable affair consisting of contrasting tone poems and delicately constructed fabrics of sound.

November Music

Track Listing: 1.Before the Light No.1 2.Alai

Personnel: Eivind Aarset: guitars

Title: Before the Light | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: November Music

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