Anders Vestergaard - eel (LP)
“eel” is the first solo album by drummer Anders Vestergaard, released on vinyl as a joint venture between the artist’s own Abstract Tits imprint (co-run with Danielle Dahl) and Insula Jazz (sub-venture of Copenhagen based shop and label Insula Music), as well as in Japan on OOO SOUND in a CD-R version featuring a bonus re-interpretation by modular synth specialist Naoki Nomoto.
1989-born Vestergaard’s background lies primarily within jazz, particularly free jazz. His undertaking is customarily centred on merging mind and body in improvisation. Best known for exploring the drum kit
as part of constellations such as Yes Deer and Laser Nun, the musician’s function is usually outgoing, at least in some direction and to some extent. On this solo record “eel”, the improvisations are in turn of a
much more introvert nature. The LP documents four pieces executed on nothing more than a self-made setup of varying acoustic percussion instruments and electronic feedback-chains. Due to the precariousness of the percussion’s effect on the feedback, the setup requires theplayer’s full attention. The music itself is an ongoing tête-à-tête between the artist and his tools, and Vestergaard makes detailed studies of the cells of his apparatus, he reacts to it and it in turn reacts to him. The
results are personal tension-laden manifestations of instinct.
Interestingly, sound qualities and unpredictability sometimes recall a very different type of body music, that of a “club” producer like M.E.S.H. whose music takes its outset in an electronic music that the body can move naturally to but bends it so far out of shape that focus slides from movement to body politics. Correspondingly, another comparison for “eel” could be Autechre, UK veterans of similarly complex “braindance”. “eel” however is not an electronic album and it bears no relation to dance music... but it pushes boundaries evoking industrial as much as it does its origins in free jazz.
Through differing approaches, “eel” explores various potentials of the setup. Opening piece “ojo” deals with dynamism, followed by the mesmeric “iji”; on the flipside’s “aja” the arrangement has an insectile
quality to it while closer “uju” moves through various shades of intensified equilibrium. These, however, are interpretations of a single mind... Though the instantly-documented pieces to some degree places
listener and performer within the same aural experience, they are certainly also open to interpretation, much like the performance titles. Though the titles are brief and following a pattern, the interpretation of
them too depends on who they are perceived by, what language they are interpreted with.
The subject of eels – reflected in Birk Horst’s artwork – parallels the anatomy of the music, skeletal yet intricate in structure. The title also designates the instrumentation being part electric part non-electric; and it equally describes the mood, both beautiful and grotesque, convivial and eerie.
Recorded by Anders Vestergaard. Mixed and mastered by Bjørn Gjessing.
Artwork by Birk Horst & Anders Vestergaard.
All music by Anders Vestergaard