Jonas Colstrup – At The Crest: music before silence

The too discreet Danish composer Jonas Coltrup returns with his second solo album five years after the superb Between sound and silence. Less minimal and more ambitious in scope, At the crest imagines itself as both a contemplative journey and a wandering in a world of human life.

© Paolo d’Alessandro

Between sound and silence, what is this residual space, this tiny trace that is badly hidden? What does silence say when it has nothing more to say? Where does the absence of words hide when speech has died out? Where does the pain hide when the heart is no longer pounding? Where does the nuance of color survive when everything has fallen under the reign of dull monochrome? Where does wonder survive when wonder is no more, when shadows vanish into thin air? What to tell when there is nothing left to tell, when everything has already been said and better said? Perhaps we should abandon ourselves to silence, its rhythm, its paradox. Letting go, getting lost, diluting, strolling, wandering. Walking to forget who we are, to forget who we are.

There is music that amuses and then there is music from within, music that frees itself from any utility. The music of Jonas Colstrup, eminently instrumental, is certainly not entertainment music, a matter of consumption. On the contrary, it comes to place in us a contemplation or dare we say a form of meditation, a barely necessary step back. She is thus freed from a goal, a will, a desire for illustration. Much marked by the influence of his former friend and collaborator johann johanssonthe works of Jonas Colstrup daring lyrical orchestration reminiscent of a Schumann or one Mahler. We left the Danes with a promising first solo album in 2017, the Superb Between sound and silence. This disc is very articulated around the piano of Colstrup offered a beautiful successful example of Piano Solo, already at the time we felt the seeds of a much more assertive orchestral will At the crest. The music of Colstruphere, it seems to be built around the notion of breath, to be understood as breath, so much each of the arrangements, each of the instruments used (the organ), each of the female voices contributes to this impression of hearing a body searching for air in the lungs like to better recharge the batteries.

At the crest he is in many moments touched by grace, oscillating between minimalism and maximalism. One could qualify the record as neoclassical but there is in this name a sort of retrospective reflection that irritates the mind and ends up questioning all these records. In this concept of neo, it would be trying to do something new with the old, diving into an academism from which you never learn anything good. We would have the right to try a parallel path, that of classical music which would have assimilated the rules of Pop, in which case, At the crest is fully in line with this trend, this vision of things, this aesthetic. The often used repetitive patterns Jonas Colstrup they refer both to electronic music and to a certain vision of the fugue.

Jonas Colstrup whose main work is planned to illustrate images for cinema imagines his solo work as that of a painter, a landscape painter who draws oceans, mountains. Hence this sensation of the infinitely small in the face of the immensely large. Of great romance, the music of Jonas Colstrup it is that of a Wanderer, an eternal wanderer, a being who shows the world as it is with its beauty, its ugliness, its dissonances and its tranquillity. And what’s beautiful about this music, a bit like the Tunisian one Haythem Mahbouli already offers and more particularly with The last man on earthhis second solo album due out in December from Schole Records is that the human is totally absent and at the same time totally present in these compositions. It’s when we try to make something or someone forget that it becomes so present. Jonas Colstrup cultivates, probably unconsciously, this kind of paradox.

In these eight sublime pieces, we also perceive an absence, a shadow that never quite says its name, that always hides. The shadow of silence perhaps, the shadow of the word that will never be said. The hope of seeing each other again in a day that slowly withers, that slowly disintegrates in the wait, in the seconds and minutes that pass, in the hour and time that never stop dying. And then there’s this already evoked breath, this breath, this panting like the one that accompanies the pain of childbirth, of this long passage towards life, of this bowel tunnel towards the light. At the crest it evokes the peaks as they evoke the primordial moments, these long walks towards life and this emancipation from the mother’s womb, this slow distinction between the child and its mother. How can you say so much with so little? We say more and more when we are out of words, when we no longer want to be understood.

Everything then becomes music, life, death, silence, landscape, painting. Nothing matters if you don’t listen to his music. The one of Jonas Colstrup tells about this invisible space in the heart of silence, in ourselves.

Greg Bod

Jonas Colstrup – At The Crest
Label: 7K!
Released November 18, 2022

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