Andreas Karperyd is a Swedish electronic musician who has been releasing sound works and creating music for stage and dance performances since the mid-1980’s under various aliases. Karperyd’s new release, GND (short for “Ground”) came about when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and begin recording through four years of treatments. Thankfully he beat his cancer in 2020 and took the opportunity to edit his raw material into the album we have here.
Karperyd generally records his music live, then edits in the studio to create the final tracks. His liner notes state: “Mixing glitchy electronica with beats have become sort of (my) trademark and on this album (I) go full out with it, also pairing it with more ambient pieces, bringing in more piano and strings to the mix.” The album was mastered by Andreas Tillander, and is available for digital download and limited-edition vinyl.
“The Well Defined Rules Of Uncertainty” introduces us to Karperyd’s music with sounds that should be painful to the ear but somehow are not: they resemble malfunctioning circuits or shortwave radio distortion but with cyclical, slowly evolving melodies. “The Desire To Invoke Balance With Our Eyes Closed” introduces acoustic piano unhurriedly looking for a theme, much like Brian Eno’s ambient works with the electronic garnishes floating around at the edges. Spooky yet beautiful.
“Reminiscence Of Tar” is a 12-minute epic that immediately evokes the feeling of being stuck in tar and trying to pull free, then slowly stretches out with low frequency oscillations and more of those decaying-circuit effects. If one encountered a bog filled with tar in outer space, this is probably what it would sound like. Karperyd squeezes every last bit of juice from a melody that is mostly just two notes.
“Failures And Small Observations” feels very much like traditional jazz compared to what’s come before. There’s a steady beat and a dark acoustic piano theme with the space sounds again acting as a Greek chorus at the edges. Halfway through, the piano sounds begin to deconstruct, and several overdubbed violin tracks compete for attention, carrying new melodies and also providing a scratchy bed for the piano. This is probably my favorite track thus far, as it contains all the best elements of the previous tracks in one package.
“Experience Of Today Is The Prediction Of Tomorrow” begins dramatically like a movie soundtrack, then settles into an amiable, almost funky piano and electronic keyboard groove. “Common Ground” actually breaks out of the slower, spacey template for a quicker paced collection of electronic and melodic loops. Like the previous track, this one ups the level of invention by several degrees with all of Karperyd’s instruments taking their turn in the spotlight. “Music For Millionaires Without Conscience” features Christian Olsson on drum kit for what feels like a short, avant-jazz improv. “Mummification Of An Empire” brings the music full circle, again featuring simple acoustic piano melodies with spacey overdubs and buzzing ornamentation.
Though the similarity of these tracks made them sometimes feel like one long recording broken into sections, there was enough going on here to keep my interest despite the inherent weirdness of Karperyd’s electronic palette. Challenging but ultimately rewarding!
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