Bird Of Paradise

Norwegian player Askild Haugland is a model of go-it-alone self-determination, continuing to create his solo work as Taming Power for the satisfaction it brings him, regardless of acclaim, money, or audience attention. We noted him some time ago when he sent us a double LP which collected some of his recorded works; I’m assuming there is quite a stockpile of unreleased material, as there’s no-one to stop him doing it and the music just seems to pour out of him as naturally as breathing. The Irish label Fort Evil Fruit recently compiled some of these, drawing on materials dating as far back as 1998, and including some more recent 2017 guitar pieces as well.

The resulting cassette Selections For Fort Evil Fruit (FEF 63) is a dreamy, intense, and extremely compelling listening experience, full of shimmering near-psychedelic beauty, but also occluded by dark Nordic clouds of doubt and mystery. Haugland realises his work through guitar and organ, but also works away at his own peculiar brand of musique concrète-inspired tape assemblage, and is quite capable of generating delicious droney noise and low-key pulsating events thereby. I’m impressed by how “organic” everything sounds; compared to the clean digital computer-based processing that constitutes most of what passes for “experimental” music these days, Taming Power sounds more like he records everything on a tape recorder made of wood, then soaks it in a vat of mulch before making sourdough bread with it. His bizarre “echo chamber” effect is something that most studio freaks would die for, even outstripping the sheer unpredictability and analogue warmth of a Watkins Copycat.

The label who released this are enraptured by his outsider status, describing him as “an underground project that has maintained a singular vision over a lengthy career with a minimum of online presence and media attention.” The cover painting of the bird is also by Askild. This all reminds me that I have some other vinyl items (I think) lurking in the backlog that he may have sent us some time ago – perhaps time to investigate. (19/03/2018)

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