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Album Review

Arild Andersen's Electra was composed for the Spring Theater in Athens for their production. These "18 Scenes," as they are subtitled, represent various cues and serial music for the production of Sophocles' deeply moving classic. Andersen collaborates with both European and Greek musicians here, among them the great vocalist Savina Yannatou, guitarist Eivind Aarset, drummer Patrice Héral, and trumpeter Arve Henriksen. The music is heavily arranged, taut, and spacious. Everything is understated yet utterly dramatic. Voices, drum programs — courtesy of Andersen and Nils Petter Molvær — brass, electric guitars, chorus, and solo voices are given direction by Andersen's bass and conducting, allowing a sort of musical story to emerge that not only informs but works independently of the dramatic work they accompany. This is spirit music. Its goes under the radar and slowly, purposefully enters the listener's unconscious and body, creating a space for impressions created by the emotions and unconscious. Like Peter Gabriel's score for The Last Temptation of Christ, the music here suggests more than it demands. It points ambiguously inward and is seductive by its subtlety. It's not "jazz," but then, it isn't anything else either, because it holds so much more inside than mere classification. This is simply a wondrous piece, darkly haunting, yet utterly beautiful for what it leaves out as much what is here. Given what Andersen has created here, the stage production was blessed.


Born: 27 October 1945 in Lilleström, Norway

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen has demonstrated fine skills and stylistic versatility. He's performed admirably in free, jazz-rock, and quasi-new age situations since the '60s. Andersen studied bass and the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization with George Russell, and also played with him during the '60s and '70s. He also studied with Karel Netolicka. Andersen began playing at various festivals in Norway during the late '60s. He was tapped by Don Cherry for his first appearance outside...
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Electra, Arild Andersen Group
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