Scandinavia is definitely a place which sends new impulses in jazz. After trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer's KHMER in 1997, which presented a fresh combination of ECM jazz, ambient, and electronica, here's ELECTRONIQUE NOIRE by guitarist Eivind Aarset, who was on of the musicians on KHMER. Again, we're exposed to such a mixture, but this time, the stew is spiced up by more different ingredients: programmed beats combine with the live drumming of Anders Engen and Kim Ofstad, creating a whole new drum'n'bass experience; there are hints of techno and rock, and the styles of jazz and ambient are to a large extent covered in several shades by Aarset's guitars, alternately -- according to the liner notes -- straight, treated, e-bowed, looped, ugly and pretty, and many of his guitar tracks are heavily processed or "pretty dissonant" to start with. Guests include Molvaer and Bugge Wesseltoft, another important figure in this new jazz movement. As the title of the album suggests, most of the tracks delve into an eerie, haunting mood and are quite dark, particularly the creepy "Dark Moisture" and "Spooky Danish Waltz," which is just that -- invoking pictures of ghosts dancing a waltz. "Wake-Up Call" is very rockish, with some killer guitar soloing, while "Entrance/U-Bahn" (which is based on a live recording) presents the most successful mix of underground electronica and jazz. The more ambient pieces on the CD, like the title track or "Namib," are less captivating and, surprisingly, more ethereal and less sinister than the high-energy tracks, but they're still interesting enough and add a nice peaceful feel to a disc which shows up more new directions for jazz to follow. While ELECTRONIQUE NOIRE is not as accessible as KHMER, it certainly is just as recommendable, and it makes one curious about what Aarset's future recordings will sound like.




This review was written for the All-Music Guide on May 29, 1999.

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Christian Genzel

Christian Genzel arbeitet als freier Autor und Filmschaffender. Sein erster Spielfilm DIE MUSE, ein Psychothriller mit Thomas Limpinsel und Henriette Müller, handelte von einem Schriftsteller, der eine junge Frau entführt, weil er sie als Inspiration für sein Buch braucht. Außerdem drehte Genzel mehrere Kurzfilme, darunter SCHLAFLOS, eine 40-minütige Liebeserklärung an die Musik mit Maximilian Simonischek und Stefan Murr. Derzeit entwickelt er seinen zweiten Spielfilm BROT UND SPIELE, eine Komödie mit Thomas Limpinsel, Götz Otto und Steffen Wink über alte Kindsköpfe und noch ältere Computerspiele, und dreht eine Dokumentation über den Filmemacher Howard Ziehm.

Christian Genzel schreibt außerdem in den Bereichen Film, TV und Musik, unter anderem für GMX, den All-Music Guide, das 35-Millimeter-Filmmagazin und Film & TV Kameramann. Außerdem hält er Vorträge zu Filmthemen und kuratierte 2014 an der Universität Salzburg eine Filmreihe zum Thema "Erster Weltkrieg".

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