Mat’s latest so-called solo recording with a “tad” of contribution from good musician friends and frequent collaborators is quite unique for many reasons, It shows a different sort of imagination involved into production. And production is a key word here as none of the musicians who contributed into it never met, or had a chance to play, rehearse or record it together. It all happened in the virtual space and then has been edited later.
He always composes with the band in mind, making music with the performer he would like it to be played by, therefore here the similar process must have taken place upfront to the sample’s expedition. With that only difference that he left here was complete freedom to add whatever they feel would fit. It then goes down to the trust and understanding of long time partners, their style and already having in mind what to expect from them, plus a little space to gamble, as they are star class improvisers, so their response can be as random as a phone call and completely dependent on the moment and mood, Couldn’t be any better if you ask me.
Opening Nighride and further Handanger are mixed with Geir Sundstøls contribution, on which he plays the guitars and banjo. First is a nicely extended tissue with an oriental harmony and contemplative mood. Second, on which Mats also plays organs is even more cinematic. Dobro sounds with delayed bluesy sound mixed with folk touch of banjo notes are bringing similar feeling to me as Cooder’s Paris-Texas famous soundtrack. But here with synthetized flute like lines it describes the landscape matching more Mongolian Tundra or possibly the movie set for Herbert’s Dune.
In comparison the track like Signal, Venus and Siberian Sorrow, all mixed with rhythmic patterns and samples created by Thomas Strønen are all bringing strong feeling of fear and claustrophobia. Something dangerous hiding around. Signal, with its defragmented rhythmic rubatoes, sounding like something falling apart and with insisting, harmonium made, repetitive bass riff the feeling of encirclement and hopelessness is strong and dominant. Venus goes even further and takes listener into despair landscape of Tarkovsky’s Stalker, where a subsonic bass in the style of Hans Zimmer is used and a wonderfully executed, super low octave Double bass Arcos hold the listener inside bubble wrap, where only a thin diaphragm film protects the listener from unavoidable drama. Siberian Sorrow, with its organs played light motive gently blended with played in upper registers bass arcos, catches up the mood of the Signal, but it sounds more organic and woodier on the percussive side as well as goes deeper that way when dialoguing with the arch. The feeling is most floaty and eternal. Like a hot air fussiness over the desert sands, or like cosmic space, endlessly open for the perpetual drifting of a lost spaceship.
Closing Appreciate, with Arve Henricksen’s trumpet airy weaven into the harmonium chords, makes a beautifully melodic and heart catching Outro, as might be expected from this cosmic traveller and nicely balances entire recording bringing more light and optimism into the mix.
This is such a great recording that it is difficult to pick up what’s best. All tracks are equally brilliant, but to me the Bouvet Blues, which is a clear trip inside Mats’ Art of double bass playing, comes as a winnerand most charming part.