We begin our third installment of Guitar Moderne Festival videos with the spectacular 3rd set of a live performance on 13 Sept 2012 at Einstein cultural center Munich that took place simultaneously at two venues. Eivind Aarset and Marc Ducret are playing at Unterfahrt/Einstein, sending their live signals to Jan Bang (sampling) and Gunnar Geisse (laptop) at MUG/Einstein. Bang and Geisse are processing, sampling and realtime remixing the sounds of Aarset and Ducret. There is a signal path from Geisse to Bang as well. Some guitar sounds appear to be originating on Geisse’s computer.
It might be something in the water but Scandinavian musicians don’t merely cross musical boundaries, they flat out refuse to recognize their existence. Anyone familiar with Terje Rypdal, Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer, Eivind Aarset, and yes, Yngwie Malmsteen is aware that they all comfortably straddle genres from metal to classical, jazz to hip-hop, free improv to folk without batting an eye.
Norwegian guitarist Knut Værnes is solidly in this tradition; over more than a decade and half a dozen solo records he has revealed a mastery of Nordic ambience, whammy-bar fusion, Scofield-style post-bop, and a host of other musical metiers—sometimes all on the same CD. As an outlet for his various visions he created the Curling Legs label which now comprises well over one hundred titles. Many of those recordings are CDs by other guitarists including Bjørn Klakegg, who makes his own instruments and creates pastoral musical landscapes of surprising depth, and Tellef Øgrim, a fretless guitarist offering postmodern jazz-fusion.
I asked Værnes about his influences, label, and recording, 4G, one of the great all-guitar-all-the-time festivals featuring four of Scandinavia’s finest fret board wranglers.