Carl Wilson writes in his book “Let’s Talk About Love: Why Other People Have Such Bad Taste”: “For a century and more sentimentalism has been the capital sin of aesthetics. To say that a work of art is sentimental necessarily means to condemn it.” True. Needless to deny it. Punk and Darmstadt’s contemporary music have branded melodic and sentimental music as one of the great deadly sins of the twentieth century. They were not entirely wrong, you can even die from an overdose of musical diabetes, for excessive sentimentality and sugary melodies.
But the opposite is also true, you can die from lack of oxygen, when everything becomes so exaggeratedly mental and desert, when the emotional component is deliberately canceled.
In these last days, so difficult for all of us, I have found myself listening to these two records, recorded by Estonian guitarist Mart Soo repeatedly, and I have thought about what was written by Carl Wilson.
The music of these two records, Kulg and Kulg II, highlights some aspects of Mart Soo that were not part of the previous records that I had commented here on the blog (“Three Free Radicals”, “Beek!” and “Sõnastik”): an exceptional care for melodic details and a sense of the perfect melody itself. The music of Kulg and Kulg II expresses a very refined sense for melody and clean sounds, a natural oasis of pure aesthetic sense. Two records with attention to every detail, in every note of Mart Soo’s guitar and of the perfect group that accompanies him, the Kulgejad.
Kulg. It took me a while to understand how this Estonian word could be translated. In the end, after some research, I discovered that it can be translated as “course, development” as something that gives a sense of movement, of projection, of growth. And this sense of flow, of positive growth crosses all the two records. Kulg expresses a melodic, refined and elegantly arranged jazz. The truth is that it is difficult to separate all this from the romanticism that considers albums as a medium of an author, like the brush strokes that make up a picture, but perhaps this romanticism, this smooth coolness is what we need in these days so heavy and demanding . There is a sense of elegant lightness in these crystalline and so clean sounds, it is not furnishing music, it is something carefully studied and played, a kind of cool chamber jazz, soft, elegant and refined. Wonderful.
Read more about Mart Soo:
More about Mart Soo:
- When the melody goes beyond sentimentalism and becomes a positive thing: Mart Soo’s Kulg and Kulg II
- Voice and guitars, two examples of possible contemporaneity: Beek! by Jakapi-Praestholm-Soo and Sul Filo by Iva Bittova and Paolo Angeli
- Three Free Radicals: avangarde ambient music, Scott L. Miller & Mart Soo
- “Sõnastik” by Weekend Guitar Trio, Bella Musica, 1995