Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Soren Dahl Jeppesen

Soren Dahl Jeppesen (guitar)
(photo: Paw Ager)

Young, but with a veteran spirit, Soren Dahl Jeppesen is increasing his presence on the scene. With a solid enveloping tone, Jeppesen has similar qualities to more seasoned guitarists like Bill Frisell and even his contemporary Jakob Bro. But he is finding a growing voice over his highly rewarding three albums as leader.

After two wonderful albums with the band Pauseland as well as through multiple session work, Jeppesen delivered an impressive debut with Route One (2010). A melodic set featuring echoing effects and heavy emotional resonance is exemplified by the exchanges between Jeppesen and saxophonist, Óskar Guðjónsson and drummer, Jakob Høyer. "A Fools Paradise" and "Less" both provide a nice mixture of calm cylindrical rhythmic patterns alongside heavy percussion, which make for a exciting and intriguing experience.

The follow up, Red Sky (2011) is more song based with lots of smooth edges. That doesn't mean Jeppesen went for a commercial sound - far from it. This is just a more mature album. The quartet has more freedom of movement in his new pieces. "In The Loop" weaves small atmospherics in Jeppesen's playing against a backdrop of soulful melodies from the rest of the group. "At Ease" has the Americana vibe that has influenced a large majority of guitarists works. It would be interesting to hear this piece with lyrics. The melody is very lovely and warm.

With the arrival of Pipe Dreams (2013), Jeppesen takes a significant leap forward; a nice balance between the European and American approaches to spacial structures. The addition of Simon Toldam (piano) for the opening "Insomnia," opens the sound for an already steady and collaborative quartet. Toldam's playing is full-bodied and gives the guitar a new challenge. I loved the distancing echoes of Jeppesen's lines.

He maintains a dense and sparse motif throughout but Jeppesen does move into different landscapes as with the Latin-tinged "Fallback" and the very effected and heartfelt "Blinded" and "Broken." Both shoulder strong lyrical passages either from Toldam on "Blinded" or Guðjónsson on "Broken."

"Pipe Dreams" and "Gloom and Doom" while expressing more somber themes, actually lay within some sublime imagery as you begin to peel off the surface. "Gloom & Doom" adds more darker electronics and an almost psychedelic feel thanks to Jeppesen's harmonic delivery. "Pipe Dreams" is slightly more direct but with Toldam and Hoyer being the driving forces.

Soren Dahl Jeppesen has quickly made an impression on the community at large with a solid and growing catalog of maturity with each record - Pipe Dreams being the brilliant gem so far. I say "so far" because history is still not written. Jeppesen may just be the unheard thing at the moment but you and all our other friends now have the chance to spread the word. Pipe Dreams is a highly recommended album for every ear. If not the year.

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