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As well as beng the guitarist in Swans, Norman Westberg has had a fair few other side projects as well as working on his own, much more minimal pieces. Originally self-released with only 100 copies in 2014 Room40 are bringing Jasper Sits to a larger audience. The precise and conscious manipulation of tonality through repetition is here in full effect, without the big band flavour.

CD £9.99 RM473

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Jasper Sits Out by Norman Westberg
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7/10 Laurie Staff review, 23 March 2017

This is another album by that evil guitar Swan Norman Westburg, channeling his dead-stare intensity into longform drone pieces on Room40, the cowboy ambient label.

Jasper Sits Out is dedicated to a recently deceased ‘family mascot’ - your guess is as good as mine. What does a Swans member keep as a pet? I’ll let you answer that one. These tracks are lengthy and minimal, more or less focusing on a single looped snippet of guitar that is then s-l-o-w-l-y obscured through filtering, delay and reverb effects until it’s just a blur. ‘The Disintegration Loops for guitar’ this is not, however. He alternates between a few different guitar textures throughout, some ugly, some beautiful, then brings them away from their cloudiness and back to near where they began.

I mean, given this amount of time, you’d hope so too. Gotta actually add some progression to the drone. And he has, for the most part. The smeared bits remind of artists like Chihei Hatakeyama or Celer, and the clearer guitar segments have more in common with shoegaze or post-rock guitar parts (dare I say Explosions in the Sky?). I have to say, it feels like there’s something missing from the first two tracks, but the last (‘A Particular Tuesday’) is wonderful.



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