NORMAN WESTBERG – Jasper Sits Out

Room40

The finest hypnotic music – particularly when guitars are the lone source – is that which points at a feeble luminescence while we’re encircled by an unconquerable gray.

Jasper Sits Out is my second meeting with Norman Westberg’s trance-inducing reiterations following 2016’s MRI. It comes without saying that the man is quickly becoming one of my preferred exponents of this expressive style. In a classic case of “some folks got it, some folks don’t”, Westberg inspects the secret cavities of a listener’s unspoken awareness with a modicum of means: a blurred mixture of consonant chords and arpeggios plus layered drones, the whole going on for extended periods. “Anyone can do it”, I hear someone mutter from the bottom. Well, try it. There must be a reason why ears that have been subjected to (literally) thousands of loop-based recordings immediately greeted this record with a nod of utter approval. It takes a highly developed perception to understand what works and what doesn’t in similar circumstances; apparently, this bearded gentleman owns the keys to many doors – including those leading to remote corners of the psyche that were in dire need of getting the dust of negativity removed.

When the ball starts rolling, there’s no stopping it. A mechanism is set in motion, and the harmonics start to combine in a gradual accumulation of jangling matters and humming pitches. The elemental gathering introduces the type of internal pulsation coinciding with the progressive emptying of the brain: every thought – be it good or bad – just evaporates as we’re left in a state of delightful indifference to the world’s occurrences. In this Saturday afternoon, the effect is amplified by an impressively gloomy sky: at the moment of this writing, almost naked branches are projecting their complexity against a massive fogginess that seems to fight whatever positive implication one may be willing to find. The presence of Westberg’s engrossing resonances is comforting, a caress on the head by a superior creature as we’re reflecting on the total insignificance of any effort. These sounds are suggesting three words: save your energy.

Room40’s boss Lawrence English stated that he will reissue ALL the limited edition albums – such as this one – released by the guitarist in the past, sadly missing from this writer’s archives. After having benefited from this mesmerizing little wonder – best enjoyed at medium-to-low volume – I feel like an open flower eager for more rain.

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