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Lars Horntveth

Kaleidoscopic

(Smalltown Supersound; US: 27 Jan 2009; UK: 26 Jan 2009)

The second solo album from the young Norwegian leader of Jaga Jazzist is orchestral, like his first, but it consists of only one winding 37-minute track. The intention here, underscored by John Szwed’s liner notes about the cinematic sound, is to draw listeners along through the rise and fall of the music, pausing in various chambers along the way. In that sense Kaleidoscopic is magnetic and attractive, never harsh or unrelenting. Its themes mutate and interweave, rarely climaxing, yielding a sort of magical, otherworldly glow. The counterpoint and multiple overlays draw from minimalism, but the verdant sound and reliance on extension reflect impressionism… in any case, those links are neither derivative nor blatant. Horntveth’s acoustic approach, like what he’s done with Jaga Jazzist in a more electronic setting, draws its main strength from narrative and evolution. All that said, Kaleidoscopic is best suited for listeners attuned to its subtlety and lush, string-rich orchestral sound.

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