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Known previously as the mastermind behind the Optical Substance jazz-electronica outfits, Contradictions is Norwegian pianist Kjetil Husebø's third album and first solo recording. Here, Husebø distills his piano playing and use of electronics into a personal music universe. In his most lyrical moments, references to fellow countrymen, pianists Bugge Wesseltoft and Jon Balke, and Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski can be found in Husebø's musical language, but the success of this album is based on the cumulative effect of his disarming, innocent and highly melodic ambiance, which lingers long after the album has finished.
All fifteen improvisations, turned into concise compositions, are superbly recorded. Husebø explores the whole sonic spectrum of the grand piano gently and thoughtfully, and his usage of electronics and live sampling here is restrained and refined. These improvisations move organically between minimalist and abstract atmospheric experiences in electronics and melody, and longer, lyrical and pensive improvisations like "Impressions," "Digressions" and "Undefined solitude," which have a subtle meditative quality and are free from any attempt to enhance dramatic elements.
Only on the title piece does Husebø marry his pensive acoustic playing with a thoughtful use of minimalist electronics. On this long piece, he offers an arresting coexistence between the two sides; each suggesting a deeper sonic option within the other, while expanding its melodic and rhythmic articulation.
An intriguing musical journey.
Track Listing: Zero; Melodic Past; Impressions; Views I; Plans; Quiet game; Digressions; Views II; Contradictions; Undefined solitude; Observing; Patience; Aphorism; Views III; Små ting tar stor plass.
Personnel: Kjetil Husebø: piano (Steinway model D), live electronics and sampling (1, 4, 8, 9, 13, 14).
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.