Aar & Dag - Tifold af Fri Form og Fælles Motiv [År Og Dag - 2021]
Aar & Dag is self-described as a collective of four Danish composers, with a number of releases since 2017. Their new album is an LP titled Tifold af Fri Form og Fælles Motiv, and it sits somewhere between free improvisation and electronic ambient music utilizing looping techniques.
Their music is a sort of current, created by the cyclical motion of various instrumental figures getting caught into an electronic loop, which is then embellished upon. As melodic and rhythmic layers are piled onto the trailing echoes of the previous, the rhythm doesn't feel precisely locked in place but rather cloudlike, swelling, bearing the listener along with it's smooth to 'n' fro, and up 'n' down.
The instruments heard are mostly horns at first: trombone, saxophone and clarinet dance around each other in clean, droning harmony. Much like in the performances of Pauline Oliveros and her Deep Listening Band, this is ambient music sourced from acoustic instruments, accomplished by giving each instrumental gesture a massive, nearly endless contrail with a vivid, transparent high definition quality that hardly gives away the artificiality of the delay processing.
The pristine production on this self-released LP elevates into highly psychedelic, evocative status. Fixating upon the glistening, watery, endlessly morphing sound of this recording, one can completely forget what they'd been doing, coming to a startling realization of the recording's visceral beauty after drifting far, far away in the mind. I can sense the glee of the musicians as they introduce new timbres through the ambient shimmer of their processing techniques, vintage synthesizers, sousaphone and various gongs and percussion.
Erratic, restless free jazz percussion forms, rolls and scattered volleys are digested into textural food to dwell beside analog saw wave pads. Initial heady off-kilter patterns give way over time to a smooth undulation. Once the jarring stylistic impressions of the beginning of the album subside, it's a very relaxing ride, as I soak up the timbral vibrancy of player's instruments, and dream of colourful horizons. Though this could be called a kind of free jazz album, it's as reassuring and tuneful as any zen ambient recordingJosh Landry