Dag Rosenqvist is a pianist and composer from Götenborg, Sweden. Some people might also know him from the experimental ambient project Jasper TX. On this new album, Rosenqvist shows his minimalistic side. 'The Forest Diaries' is composed for the dance project by Swedish Choreographer & dancer Jenny Larsson and mastered by Matthew Collings in May 2015. The result is simply beautiful, a brilliant piece of minimal ambient.
The album opens with one touch on the piano, which repeats slowly while some soundscapes softly fade in. This process is actually repeated in 'IX', resulting in a hint of concept. From there most of the album is filled with these elements, along with several drones and some minor melodic aspects. Personally, I can't imagine anyone dancing to this but then again, I don't really understand dance performance artists anyway, so I'll just go with the music.
The minimal approach on this album, results in genlty layered textures of electro-acoustic instruments. It breathes an atmosphere of tranquility while still often being quite grainy, especially when the organ, or what sounds like an organ to me, is used. 'II' for instance drives on these raw sounds and some minor background sounds which almost give a hint of rhythm. 'V' goes ever further, reminding me of some of the music I heard in church back in the day.
Since the piano seems to be the main instrument, it's easy to classify this album somewhere between releases by Olafur Arnalds or Sebastian Plano. Yet, at times Dag Rosenqvist nudges more towards the arctic sounds of Biosphere or the dreamy ambient of people like Pete Namlook. So if you're into either ambient or modern classical music, you might appreciate this, I know I do.
At times there's also a bit of a jazzy feel, hidden away beneath the calm layers of sound. On other occasions, as in 'IV' and 'VI', the minimalism takes over, resulting in one long drone where once again the piano interferes at the end. The result is almost magic and perfectly suited for a rainy day like this, although I would play this kind of music any day, regardless of the weather.
My favorite track is 'VIII', an immense drone ambient piece, lasting eight minutes without ever going stale or boring. In fact, the entire album never loses its quality and varies well between the use of different instruments and atmospheres.
In all, if you're a fan of ambient and experimental but soothing music, this is obviously something for you. You can hardly go wrong with any release in these Eilean series and 'The Forest Diaries' is no exception. Once again we're dealing with a high quality ambient release. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if anyone ever tells me Eilean 'is the ECM of ambient'...