My first time with this Swedish guitar rapist, both releases published by this on-the-edge Finnish label. Mixed feelings, as you will see. Thanks to Matti, Sami and all the rest of the Northern crew for these.
ANDERS DAHL & CHRISTIAN MUNTHE – Several Kinds Of Ground
Lively and truly captivating duets for acoustic guitar and electronics, enriched by a gorgeous cover photo showing a section of ground with its different textures and gradations, as per the album’s title. The erosion of timbre, the bitter nudity of the exchanges, the ability of creating appreciable music from what frequently appears as sheer noise are but a few of the qualities of this CD. The musicians mostly remain on the dirty-and-gritty side of things, their instruments hinting to new visuals of a kind of grouchy-yet-pleasurable improvisation which leaves lots of welcome breathing space despite the often frantic temperament of the pieces. Dahl’s electronic apparatuses hiss, pop and snarl while dismantling any idea of sophistication, as Munthe utilizes the whole spectrum that his axe offers to emphasize the muddiest passages and, in dissipated attitude, give some spark to a rusty tissue of involuntary convergences. It all sums up to an extremely fresh recording which sustained our attention entirely, full as it is of sharp discussions deprived of any gloss or patina.
CHRISTIAN MUNTHE – The Backside Suite
The record was completely played on the reverse side of an acoustic guitar, battered with all kinds of objects and bodily parts and secretions (one hopes that it was a cheap brand). That’s right – the man also spits on the instrument, obtaining squeals, wet kisses, gurgles and other assorted stomach-churning noises by rubbing and maybe sucking the saliva-drenched wood. Apart from this somewhat disgusting practice – I’ll never spit on my instruments, much less put the tongue on them – what’s contained in The Backside Suite could be OK if the program lasted half a hour instead of over 62 minutes as it is. Some of the hues that the guitarists manages to generate are indeed interesting, although knocking, picking, finger-tipping and letting things roll on the guitar body is an archetypal case of “been-there-done-that”. After a while one would like to hear more than this and the tracks starts sounding similar, in spite of the diverse approaches that Munthe attempts. Accordingly, treat this disc as an oddity - and not even that startling.