Asger Thomsen is a bass player and composer living in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he works primarily in the field of contemporary improvised music. He first obtained his bachelor’s at the Syddansk Musik konservatorium in Esbjerg and later his master’s degree in Music Performance at the Rythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. He leads or co-leads projects spanning from alternative pop to free/experimental jazz and avant-garde music, such as Perfect Volume, Our Hearts as Thieves, Den Polyvalente Hjelm, Magpie. These endeavours have established him as a versatile improviser within the Copenhagen scene and have allowed him to tour in Germany, Poland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the USA.
Atlas is an album made of compositions for his solo project. It follows his first solo bass album, released as a cassette in 2017 on Insula jazz, picking up from where that record left: the exploration of radical approaches to the double bass and of long-form, static improvisation. A physical, detail-oriented approach to a rich palette of sounds – often strengthened by the use of unconventional techniques – is coupled, as stated by Bill Meyer of Downbeat by “a strong instinct for structure, which ensures directionand cohesiveness, even during the music’s most free-flowing moments”.
The music in Atlas is based on Asger’s interest in the close encounter between his double bass and everyday objects such as spoons, chopsticks, clamps, and disposable cups which are used to prepare his instrument. In his own words, “rather than using electronic devices, my interest is in finding approaches to create a sort of concrete music with emphasis on specific timbres, extreme dynamics, guttural sounds, and gestures”. The individual tracks explore different setups and approaches to the prepared double bass. “While feeling inspired by noise and reductionistic forms of music” continues Asger, “this exploration really felt fresh and fun to me, so the music is really based on a curiosity towards the sonic possibilities of the double bass as a physical sound source.”
The key feature which brings together the six tracks of Atlas is a physical sort of love for the instrument,which is apparent from the use Asger makes of it: reckless, inescapable, hard-hitting. Just as true love is.
released July 2, 2019
Performed and recorded by Asger Thomsen.
Mastering by Francesco Ameglio