ELVIND AAARSET I JAN BANG-SNOW CATCHES ON HER EYELASHES.

Eivind Aarset I Jan Bang-Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes.

Label: Jazzland Recordings.

Although Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang have been collaborating since the early nineties, the pair have never recorded an album as a duo. That was until they recorded Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes, which was recently released by Jazzland Recordings. It features ten new soundscapes and is based upon the live concept that emerged following the release of Eivind Aarset’s 2012 album for ECM, «Dream Logic», which was produced by Jan Bang.  That is just part of of the story.

While «Dream Logic» was part of the inspiration for Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes, so were Jan Bang’s two solo albums on Samadhisound and Jazzland. These albums would inspire the pair to produce Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes which like the previous projects they’ve worked on,  is ambitious, innovative and features music that is both modern and has a timeless sound. 

To create this sound, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang  combine elements of disparate mutual genres including contemporary classical, dub, pop and Norwegian folk music. This they do with a little help from their friends

Previously, the pair that have  collaborated with everyone from Sly and Robbie to Jon Hassell, Bugge Wesseltoft and Nils Petter Molvær. However,  they wanted to record Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes as duo. Despite this, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang invited various guest musicians including Anders Engen, Audun Erlien, Erik Honoré, Hilde Norbakken, Nils Petter Molvær and Sidsel Endresen to augment them when they recorded the ten new soundscapes that became Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes. To do that, they combined traditional instruments and technology.

Recording of Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes took place at Punkt Studio, Kristiansand. Other recordings took place at Amper Tone Studio and  Eivind Aarset’s home. A total of ten soundscapes were recorded with Eivind Aarset playing guitar, bass and adding electronics, while, Jan Bang took charge of programming, sampling  and editing. The pair have worked together for the best part of three decades and have formed a successful partnership but even their talents needed augmented.

They were joined by bassist Audun Erlien, pianist Hilde Norbakken, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær and Erik Honoré  on synths. Sidsel Endresen contributed a vocal sample for the album opener Purplebright.  Anders Engen played cymbals on The Witness and was responsible for additional sampling on the track. These tracks became Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes which was produced by Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang.

Once the album was recorded, Two Days In June and Nightspell were mixed Eivind Aarset who joined forces with Jan Bang to mix Asphalt Lake. The rest of the album was mixed by Ingo Krauss. However, when it came to mastering the album, it was passed to Helge Sten who is one of Norway’s top mastering engineers. After the mastering was completed the album was ready to release.

Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang recently released Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes and what’s their first collaboration as a duo leaves a lasting impression. That’s the case from the album opener Purplebright,  a carefully crafted electronic soundscape where a guitar notes combine with samples and synths and become part of an arrangement that ebbs, flows, sweep and swirls and is a tantalising taste of what’s to come. Quite different is Asphalt Lake which features an industrial influence as the arrangement pulsates. Despite this, there’s still a melodic side to the track that showcases Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang ability to create ambitious and innovative music. Pianist Hilde Norbakken’s contribution on Before the Wedding can’t be underestimated. Here contrasts abound as the piano adds a melodic sound to the electronic soundscape. It’s also inventive  and shows that the duo are prepared to think outside the box and takes chances.

Many artists have combined contrasting sounds and genres in the past and this has resulted in disastrous consequences. Not here though, as Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang find ways to combine contrasting sounds and make them work. They are best described as sonic adventurers who make what seems impossible possible. 

Similarly, how many artists can combine elements of contemporary classical music, dub reggae, electronic music, jazz, Norwegian folk music and pop? Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang can, and do so successfully  on  Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes. They combine a  wistful piano with elements of Norwegian folk on the beautiful Two Days In June. One wonders at the story behind the track?

Outer Sphere is a shorter and much more experimental sounding track, while The Witness has a cinematic sound as the duo paint pictures with their music. Inner Sphere is a dramatic, eerie and experimental soundscape that lasts just two magnificent minutes. Serenade meanders along genres melting into one as  this understated soundscape invites reflection. Very different is Monochrome, a dark filmic sounding track. Closing Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes is Nightspell where elements of electronic, experimental and jazz combine to create a track that will cast a spell during the day or night. 

After the best part of three decades collaborating, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang were more than ready to collaborate on an album. Eventually, they made time and the result was Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes which is an album that showcases their respective and combined talents. Along with some of their musical friends they combined disparate genres to create music that was ambitious, innovative, modern and timeless.

They take chances by combining sounds and genres that under normal circumstances shouldn’t work but does. The ten soundscapes on Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes fits together seamlessly like a jigsaw and the music is variously beautiful, cinematic, dramatic, eerie, melancholy, ruminative and invites reflection. Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes akin to intricate musical tapestry  woven by Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang, two musical adventures with maverick tendencies who continue push musical boundaries to their limits and dare to be different.

Eivind Aarset I Jan Bang-Snow Catches On Her Eyelashes.

2 Comments

  1. I have not heard of these artists but I will check them out.

    • I hope that you enjoy what’s a wonderful album. Over the last few years there’s so much great music been coming out of Scandinavia. I’ve reviewed a lot over the years and have some more on my to do pile. I hope you enjoy the music.

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