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Album Review

Alex Jønsson: Heathland

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Alex Jønsson: Heathland
Danish guitarist/composer Alex Jønsson returns with the same trio heard on Heart Of Gold: Live In Aarhus (Self Produced, 2016), with bassist Jens Mikkel Madsen and drummer Andreas Skamby. This is a studio recording with richer sound, but the band's music shows considerable growth beyond that. The title tune opens the set, a rubato exercise in three-way communication, which covers a lot of ground in its brief duration.

Jønsson employs more electronic processing here, starting with the ghostly, processed echo (backwards and an octave higher) of "Stillness." ..."and Darkness Crept In" features a distorted harmonizer, recalling the grit of "War Is Peace" on the earlier album. It also displays the drums in full force, something the earlier intimate live recording seemed to restrain. "The Sun Is Slowly Rising" has a slow dynamic build, with a processed, echoing guitar sound. "Paul" is very rubato, its chattering drums and guitar textures/melodies held together by droning bass.

"Re: Herr Sehr Schwer" is an upbeat, melodic tune with a call back to the Americana sound of the previous album's title tune: a striking contrast to the rest of the program, and an extroverted version of the group sound . "Emu" closes the album with an atmospheric guitar loop and melodic bass riffs, concluding with a final slow fade. Heathland presents a satisfying program, with greater dynamic and timbral range. The comparison to countryman Jakob Bro's trio recordings is even more apt here, both for the overall sound and the admirable conciseness.

Track Listing

Heathland ; Stillness ; …and Darkness Crept In ; Out of Shape ; Icicles ; The Sun Is Slowly Rising ; Paul; Re: Herr Sehr Schwer ; Emu

Personnel

Alex Jønsson: guitar; Jens Mikkel Madsen: bass; Andreas Skamby: drums.

Album information

Title: Heathland | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self released


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