The boundaries between composition and improvisation have always been fluid. Anja Lauvdal’s work is mainly on the improvisational end of this scale, but her debut album as a solo artist on Smalltown Supersound takes Agathe Backer Grøndahl, a forgotten composer, as a model, just as the ten pieces were formed into composed structures in close exchange with producer Laurel Halo. »Fantasie for Agathe Backer Grøndahl,« thanks to its sonic proximity to Jan Jelinek’s »loop-finding-jazz-records,« makes it clearest that the approach is a tried and tested one: At times, it’s little more than individual phrases recorded with acoustic instruments that form the basis of the pieces, but shaped by electronic means into pieces that form their own logics—there’s even a tripped-up house groove on this record that is permeated by tape hiss and at times brings to mind Jon Hassell’s Fourth World reveries or even William Basinski’s music. One of the standout tracks is »Darkkantate«: a quasi-chamber music piece in which melodies and motifs overlap in a strange way—improvised, disparate elements that have been combined into something greater than the mere sum of their individual parts. A simple approach that yields fascinating results.
From A Story Now Lost