Solos for Guitars is the second solo album from the Norwegian jazz/improv/rock guitarist Tellef Øgrim (alternatively written Ogrim). It consists of 10 tracks encompassing Tellef's eclectic style as well as his usage of fretted and fretless instruments and electronics. All the tracks are meant to be imprints of sublime musical moments where expressing a certain state of mind is more important than composition or the documentation of any sort of style or genre.
Some of the tracks on this records, like Lur Lokk and Dolo’s Divid draws lines back to Tellef's first solo album from 2004, being improvisations over small simple themes using clean sounding fretless or fretted guitars with a minimum of effects. Other tracks, like Giddyup (live at Paard) or Day After, are fuelled by extreme distortion or ditto electronics. "I love the way a radically altered sound, created by electronics or distortion, requires me to approach the instrument in a totally different manner", says Tellef.
LN has Left the Building is six minutes of musical stillness dedicated to Luigi Nono, one of Tellef's favourite composers. The track is accompanied electronically by a drone, a "bass", and percussion.
Monotheosis no.1 is a frantic improvisation for an acoustic fretted Martin guitar, captured there and then on a mobile recorder.
Gavotte generates from a similar approach as Monotheosis no.1, as a one shot "attack" on the instrument, The big difference is however that this time the plectrum is replaced by a smartphone that records the guitar while strumming the strings. Phase two of the process was to render a midi version of the recording and working out a bass part from this "midification".
Subsequences is an acoustic guitar played into the Hadron Particle Synth audio effect inside Ableton Live, using an iPad manipulated with the guitarist's toes, as the controller.
Fat Fit is an almost bluesy improvisation played on a defretted Danelectro baritone run through a tube amp using zero effects.
Song for RC starts with an ethnic sounding theme, evolves into a more free-tonal commenting on the start figure only to evolve into a section of self-citation that briefly touches an earlier composition Tellef does not seem to get out of his system. The guitar here is an almost 100-year-old parlour model of uncertain origin that has a few sound secrets for the player that sets off time to hunt for them.
Dolo’s Divid is this album's second track for fretless baritone guitar. Tuned a fifth below a normal guitar tuning it offers the patient player a certain serenity in its tone. Listen closely to the overtones from some of the strings and you can almost feel like you are sitting next to the Tellef while he plays.
At Day After Tellef returns to the highly customisable Hadron synth audio effect. The instrument I use here is my dear old Yamaha SG which had its frets removed on a fine Thursday afternoon in 1988. It is a well balanced and friendly guitar that goes especially good together with extreme electronics like the Hadron Particle Synth.
The contrast to the next track could not be greater. Lur Lokk played on a Martin K28 turned into a kulokk which is the Norwegian word for a cattle call. This edition of the species, however, is for calling hip urban cows of the kind you can meet at the occasional free jazz concert.
Rounding up the album is a recording from the Dutch Fretless Guitar Festival at Paard van Troje in den Haag a couple of years back. The track is the answer to the following question: What will come out of me, a fretless guitar, the ZVEX Fuzz Factory and an Orange guitar amplifier on stage in a beautiful continental city?
Reviews by 31 October 2016:
"....most adventurous avant-garde fretless guitarist in Northern Europe."
Avant Music News:
....the normal displaced and alienated into something strange"