You are both awake and asleep. Listening, but at the same time paying no heed to the experience. Am I talking about the ancient Buddhist practice of yoga nidra or the recording Pole Of Inaccessibility
by Swedish pianist Alexander Zethson? Actually both.
The finest tribute that can be paid to these two discs of extended composition and improvisation is that the body is asleep while the unconscious mind is attuned at a much deeper level. Like the nidra experience, Zethson has created a meditative state where his music develops a new sense. Is it the sixth sense, or hearing +1?
Before we get all new age/crunchy granola. This is a solo outing by the pianist for the quartet Je Suis! and Angles 9 (which was formerly known as Angles 8) with, among others, Magnus Broo
, Martin Küchen
, and Mattias Ståhl. It is one of the most vibrant music ensembles to come along since the ICP Orchestra. Stripped of his role as ensemble pianist, Zethson paints with a post-minimalist brush here. His Steinway grand piano is accompanied by synthesizer. With both instruments coloring from a dark ambient palette, his left hand dominates with synth strains of rumble and hum and decomposing loops of sound. The closest comparison here is to that of Chris Abrahams
' piano work in the trio The Necks. But where The Necks build momentum at a glacial pace, Zethson chooses to perpetuate congruent wave upon wave of sound. He draws from an enigmatic pool of subliminal tones that shifts the listening experience from passive to osmosis, the active process of emotional absorption. Just as the most effective meditation sessions tend to be.