Thursday, July 24, 2008
mnml ssgs mx08: Jasper TX
The latest ssgmx is an ambient collection of gorgeous drones, guitar tones and neo-classical swells courtesy of Swedish artist Dag Rosenqvist, better known to the listening public as Jasper TX.
Rosenqvist’s guitar-based explorations have drawn comparisons to Fennesz and Oren Ambarchi. But while these artists are most definitely touchstones for Rosenqvist, he has developed a style that is distinctly his own, both melancholic and uplifting, swinging between beautiful melodies and warm haunting drones.
A prolific artist who is showing no signs of slowing down, Rosenqvist has released five full-length albums since 2005, with his very latest ‘Black Sleep’ having just been released on the Miasmah label. (A label worth keeping an eye on, by the way.) He also produces more “traditional” indie-rock sounds with his band De La Mancha.
Rosenqvist kindly answered a few of our questions, talking about the mix, his music and the importance of hope.
1. How did you make this mix?
I made it using Pro Tools. Since there are little or no beats to this kind of music I just wanted to get the tracks flowing seamlessly into each other.
2. Why did you choose these particular tracks?
Well first off I wanted to include one of my own tracks, just as a small introduction to what kind of music I make. It might not be 100% representative of my overall sound but I think it’s a sweet little gem of a song. The rest of the tracks are basically divided into two different categories. Songs by artists that I have been inspired by, and songs from artists that might not be that well known. I realize of course that none of these artists are that well known, some of them are just slightly bigger fish in our little pond. I just felt I wanted to introduce you to some of the smaller fish too.
3. Are there any particular emotions or feelings you would like to express with this mix?
I wouldn’t say that there are any particular feelings I want to express. My intention with this mix is rather to shed some light on the kind of music I like. I think a lot of people out there think of this kind of music as kind of depressing and inaccessible. But to me that’s just not the case. To me this is really uplifting, warm, embracing music that makes me feel very good. I want the listener to have an open mind when listening to this music and really give it a chance.
4. Are there any particular emotions or feelings you would like to express with your music as Jasper TX?
Each song is an attempt to express emotions, feelings, dreams, hopes. A lot of my songs start out as snapshots in my mind. What I then do is try and transform these images into music. Always aiming at coming as close to that initial snapshot as possible.
5. I'm curious about the name Jasper TX. Does it have any special meaning?
In 1998 an African American man named James Byrd Jr. was killed in the city of Jasper TX. On June 7, 1998, Byrd, 49, accepted a ride from three men named Shawn Allen Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and John William King. Instead of taking him home, they beat him up behind a convenience store, chained him by the ankles to their pickup truck, stripped him naked and dragged him for three miles. Although Lawrence Russell Brewer claimed that Byrd's throat had been slashed before he was dragged, forensic evidence suggests that Byrd had been attempting to keep his head up, and an autopsy suggested that Byrd was alive for much of the dragging and died after his right arm and head were severed when his body hit a culvert.
So I decided to take the name Jasper TX for my project, so that we never forget and to remind myself that the world can turn into a horrible place if we don’t try and change it. This is why I try to fill my music with hope. Because the last thing that abandons us is hope. Right?
6. Now that ‘Black Sleep’ has just been released, what are you working on at the moment?
I finished an album a while ago that is set for release early 2009 entitled ‘Singing Stones’. It’ll be released on the Swedish label Fang Bomb. I’m also currently working on a follow up to ‘Black Sleep’. I have two or three finished tracks for that one but as of now I have no idea when or where it will be released. All I know is that it’ll be dark and very, very good. Aside from these releases I have a 3” CD coming on the Norwegian label Fenetre Records this fall and I also have a song on a compilation and a split 7” on the Australian label Sound & Fury. Be sure to check by my Myspace frequently for more info and news.
1. Jasper TX – Better days to come (Lidar Productions)
2. Mountains – Sewn two (Apestaartje)
3. Anthony Burr & Skúli Sverrisson – Except in memory (The Workers Institute)
4. Machinefabriek – Somerset (Lampse)
5. Jóhann Jóhannsson - The Sun's Gone Dim And The Sky's Turned Black (4AD)
6. Cerberus Shoal – Omphalos (Temporary Residence)
7. Tsukimono – Gathering heavy breathing (Kalligrammofon)
8. Wouter van Veldhoven – First simple song (Eat This Media)
9. Eluvium – Everything to come (Temporary Residence)
10. Jacob Kirkegaard – Church (Touch)
11. Erik Enocksson – The lingering procession (Kning Disk)
A few technical notes about downloading the mix:
direct download here
Also, the podcast should (hopefully) be working again, so if you would like to subscribe to the ssg cast please do so here.
Jasper TX’s Myspace site
And, finally, a huge thanks to Dag for providing us with such a beautiful mix … and some hope.