Copenhagen Diaries documents Norwegian, Bergen-based guitarist Svein Rikard Mathisen experiences while studying at the acclaimed Rhythmic Music Conservatory in the Danish capital, an era described by him as a "twilight zone" where "curiosity meets nightmares and angst meets caffeine." Fortunately, Matisen experiences were processed into an appealing yet complex compositions, reflecting the dramatic emotional turmoil of that seminal time.
Mathisen core quartet feature Swedish pianist William Larsson and double bassist Paul Hinz and Danish drummer Andreas Fryland, supported on three pieces by Danish saxophonist Aske Drasbæk and on two pieces by Norwegian vocalist Maylen Rusti. Mathisen, who also plays in the Norwegian funk-fusion outfit Ninjabeat, has a mature and commanding sound of his own, rooted in the American school of jazz guitar, echoing at times early Pat Metheny and the singing voicing of Ben Monder. His intricately crafted, original compositions flow with fast shifting, inventive ideas that gravitate toward complex harmonic structures, always suggesting a strong melodic vein and always revolving around tight and emphatic interplay.
"Nightmares" is the the most arresting composition. Slowly sketching a fragile, emotional territory, intensified by the gentle wordless vocals of Rusti and the whispering sax of Drasbæk. Mathisen leading guitar hints about the inner turmoil with a reserved, gentle voice. His affinity with pianist Larsson is highlighted in their beautiful duo "Hedmark," referring to the Eastern part of Norway where Mathisen was born. This strong affinity is later cemented also on the moving ballad, "A moon on a sunny day."
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