Jasper TX – Closet Ghosts
January 5, 2009, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Releases, Reviews | Tags: ,


“Closet Ghosts is a great way to spend twenty minutes of your life. Highly recommended.”

“A beautiful mix between nightly ambient drones and acoustic instruments. Great in it’s smallness.”

“The great beauty of albums like Closet Ghosts is that they are brightly different, highly creative and opens the listener up to a brighter world amongst the melancholy.”
-Cyclic Defrost

“Gorgeous melodies between hazy atmospheres.”

Fenêtre Records follows up last year’s 3″ EP by Beneva vs. Clark Nova by welcoming none other than Dag Rosenqvist to the label roster. This prolific Gothenburg-based Swedish musician – already with five full-length albums to his name since 2005 – is probably well-known as Jasper TX (and also member of prog-rock outfit De La Mancha) to most fans of guitar-based electronica and the “laptop folk”/americana/shoegaze scene. Also, Jasper TX should be synonymous with lovely ambient drones centered around Dag’s trademark, analogue guitar sounds. Contrary to the last 3″ on Fenêtre featuring two long ambient pieces, Jasper TX here offers a collection of six diversely built-up compositions or closet ghosts – complementing a recurring theme from the preceding 3” release yet also offering something unique and uplifting – reminiscent of his peers upholding the traditions of guitar-based instrumentals like Fennesz, Tape, Tim Hecker, Library Tapes, Seaworthy, Sickoakes, etc.
Rosenqvist – an aficionado for analogue and lo-fi textures is an expert at composing melancholic soundscapes based around simple guitar themes embellished in rich patterns of sounds extracted from synths and organs, other string instruments, field recordings and other toyish effects. The music is very heartfelt and personal, bearing witness of an awareness and empathy in the composer. And though at the offset the music may seem bleak and shrouded in an all-encompassing gloomy darkness, at some point does Rosenqvist’s beliefs in hope and a prevailing optimism shine through to leverage a lighter counter-weight to the darkness and dispelling any brooding in the listener through soothing melancholic tones.


A six-track EP release on new label Fenetre Records, Closet Ghosts follows on from Dag Rosenqvist’s Black Sleep album, released six months or so back via Miasmah. These compositions call upon a similar blend of sensitive acoustics and immersive electronics, although at times Rosenqvist seems to unplug from his computer altogether and opt for bare, spartan purely instrumental interludes like ‘Golden’, which leaves a lonely piano figure to its own devices, stretching out loose chords and contemplative exchanges over the course of a frozen minute. ‘Gone Away…’ brings to mind the more post-rock oriented aspects of Rosenqvist’s work, isolating acoustic guitar passages so clean they might be equally at home in a De La Mancha record as in a Jasper TX outing. Eventually the music weaves itself into droning spirals of distortion and delay, fizzing below the surface and petering out almost as quickly as they built up, leaving a lonely acoustic guitar to wend its way to the ending. In terms of the more drone-like pieces on the disc, ‘I’m Asleep On The Floor While Sunbeams Grace My Tired Head’ is indicative of the powerful, unsentimental driving force behind this music: these aren’t fluffy, lightweight drones but coarse, clanking outpourings of sound. You have to look beneath the surface to find any glimmers of emotional resonance, but there’s always a real depth lurking behind that stark, abrasive facade. ‘Warmth’ stays true to its title and opens up, revealing stretches of infinite tone and glacial tunefulness, but the two finest pieces here are ‘And When We Die, God Makes Angels Of Us All’ and the stunning closing track ‘To Felixstowe’. Both represent a finely harmonised union of faded electronic sustains and carefully plotted out, organic melodies, with the former sounding like a Jewelled Antler take on Mogwai while the latter is like a slowed-down Loren Connors blues solo. Closet Ghosts is a great way to spend twenty minutes of your life. Highly recommended.

Review by Boomkat



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