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2015 release. Eivind Aarset is a musician who has succeeded in the difficult task of creating an immediately identifiable sound and marrying it to a will to investigate as many musical possibilities as he can find or imagine. I.E. is his arguably most accomplished album embodying these traits. The nine tracks that comprise the album are often diptychs or triptychs, structured with clear movements, shifting in tone, color and mood. Aarset's sound-world has always been one that could be mapped by those willing to explore it. Where Dream Logic (2012) was something of an unexpected side-step out of the kind of sound Aarset fans had grown accustomed to, this album is equally so, yet - as usual - feels organically connected to everything he has done. All the nuances, textures, gestures and signs that appeared on the aforementioned Dream Logic remain intact here, but now nestle amid beds of the "traditional" Aarset band sound. This fusion creates a completely new set of surprises, not only in terms of their juxtaposition, but also in terms of their sheer audacity. The album's recording methods and locations have been varied in numerous ways, but the majority of the album was recorded live in the studio with the basic quartet: Eivind Aarset, Audun Erlien, Wetle Holt, Erland Dahlen. The effect upon the sound is energizing, allowing a rawness to remain untouched. Of particular note are Audun Erlien's keyboard work (something for which he rarely receives enough credit, overshadowed as it is by his marvelous double-jointed grooving bass work), Wetle Holt, and Erland Dahlen's menagerie of struck instruments, particularly the dulcimers and glockenspiels that create many highlight moments here. The appearance of the full brass section, the sampling genius of Jan Bang, and the vocal stylings, hyper-elastic acrobatics and pyrotechnics of Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari, also enrich the sound deeply, creating an utterly new dimension for Aarset's sound. Aarset's guitar remains the dominant force throughout, but never overpowers the music as a whole. His endless skill in finding the right notes to play, whether in a sparse ambient environment or a chaotic crescendo of polyphonic revelry, is a marvel to behold. I.E. marks yet another move upward in Aarset's ascent towards the summit of his powers.