Review of Soundscapes, The Gothenburg Combo, Northwest Classics 2007
Very interesting record this Soundscapes by The Gothenburg Combo, duo formed by David Hansson and Thomas Hansy. This album released in 2007 has surprised me right away by opening and reading the booklet that accompanies it: at the beginning there is a David Toop’s quote, taken from his book Oscean of Sound, “An ethereal cultures, absorbed in perfume, light , silence and ambient sound … “a rather unusual quote because usually Toop is appointed by Dj or persons acting more in an electronic music, sound art or improvisation, certainly not by two classically trainned guitarists. Anyway, the album is very interesting and contains different works that I have found are perfectly line-up with Toop’s quote, because of the at least almost immersive nature of music that it’s performed here. From listening to the CD it can realize that these two guitarists represent within itself a wide variety of plays, and that although they come from a classical education should not disdain sure the DJ music, pop music, house music, techno and so on and this transpires immediately from the first song of the album that is titled Everything’s Alright Forever, a song written by the two guitarists in the winter of 2006, the coldest winter of the last 108 years in Gothenburg and that, in a sense, want to celebrate a kind of desired Endless Summer, still far
Equally interesting is the piece by Peter Hansen, entitled “12-string noon (Duane Allman in memoriam)”, dedicated to the important figure of the Allman Brothers Band’s great guitarist, and characterized by the use of particular tuning for both guitars (CGDFCE), with the aim of creating a more vibrant, dark sound.
The attention to this kind of sound is a constant throughout this record which, by the way, is impeccably recorded and was released as Super Audio CD with a really excellent quality.
The third song of Andreas Eklöf, Friday, is dedicated to the music of The Cure’s “Friday I’m in love,” maybe not well known by those who only attends classical music, but a very successful pop song, characterized by a particularly original and serene sound which is taken in this passage.
Closes the disc the song by Fredric Bergström, The Combo Song, the first song entirely dedicated to the Duo, composed of three parts, fast-low-fast, characterized by a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, with a great use of harmonics.
The most important part of this “scape” record, however are for me the two pieces by Steve Reich: Nagoya Guitars and Phase. The first one is the interpretation of Nagoya Marimbas, originally arranged by David Tannenbaum, here performed with two acoustic guitars, an almost “funky” version than the original Tannenbaum’s one. The second piece of Reich, Phase, is an arrangement, by the same duo, of Piano Phase, now classic piece of 1967. Here the two guitars use the phasing technique with the result to obtain a particularly original effect: they don’t try to imitate the pianos that are used in the original version, but they manage to create beautiful resonances and overtones that are not present in the 1967 version.
The result is a really interesting and particularly pleasant cd, characterized by the excellent recording sound quality and David Hansson and Thomas Hansy’s skills.
1. The Gothenburg Combo: Everything’s Alright Forever
2. Peter Hansen: 12-string noon (Duane Allman in memoriam)
3. Andreas Eklöf: Friday
4. Steve Reich: Nagoya Guitars
5. Steve Reich: Phase
6. Fredric Bergström: The Combo Song