By Paul Acquaro
Suffice to say Aarset's follow up album, Dream Logic is in no way shape or form the same as the live album. It is mostly a solo outing and the huge peaks that the Codex band reached is replaced by subtle nuance. And it really is quiet, so much so that at times I doubted my hearing. The guitar here is processed and transformed, at times into sounds quite unlike the guitar at all. Assisting with the transformations, electronic music maker Jan Bang provides samples and programming. Through these layers, and over slowly expanding time, the guitarist builds ethereal dreamscapes.
Starting off with the first of three variations of 'Close (for comfort)', the slowly building layers of guitars make for an eerie and meloncholic opening. Tension builds during the song's arc and hardly dissipate as the tune draws to a close. The follow-up 'Surrender' is a slowly flowing stream of quietly roiling sound. 'Jukai (Sea of Trees)' has a chiming quality, with repeating patterns playing over what sounds like the guitarist working in the bass register. This then mixes in with samples and sounds appearing in odd-timed loops. Fast forwarding a bit, 'Homage to Greene' from the last third of the album, is a fantasticaly slow unfolding of guitaristic sounds, shaped by the springy twang of reverb, slow string scrapes and a slightly country pitch bends, all building over the deep electronic pulsations. Opposite to the first few tunes described, it has a hopeful and open feel and is over too soon.
Dream Logic is a lovely album, spacious and quiet, and one that works well within the ECM aesthetic. While it doesn't seize me like I want it to, it is very stirring album that demands many listens. It's not bent on summoning the musical rapture, rather it's an evocative and personal statement. Introspective and often dark, the album is something to enter calmly at the end of the day, or perhaps as it begins, outside the chaos of everyday life.