By Bill Meyer
Some music is born out of commercial or communicative aspirations, or philosophical structural prescriptions. One suspects that this music originates from some agreement about what sounds good, compounded by other ideas about the right way to do things. Fredrik Rasten is a guitarist who splits his time between Berlin and Oslo, shuttling between improvised and composed musical situations; he has an album out on Wandelweiser, which should tell you a bit about his aesthetics. Egil Kalman plays modular synthesizer on this record, but he is also a double bassist from Sweden who lives in Copenhagen, and he keeps busy playing in folk, jazz and free improv settings; one hopes that someday, we’ll hear some recordings by his touring project, Alasdair Roberts & Völvur. But in the meantime, give a listen to this record, which patiently scrutinizes a space bounded by string harmonics and electronic resonance. Rasten uses just intonation to maximize the radiance of his sounds and re-tunes while playing to subtly manage the harmonic proximity between his vibrations and Kalman’s long tones. The synth supplies a bit of slow-motion melody. The album’s two pieces were performed in real time, and the effort involved in maintaining precise harmonic distance gives the music a subtle but undeniable charge. The title mentions winds, but this music feels more like a sonic representation of slight but steady breezes.