Grand Mutation in Pitchfork

Marhaug / Asheim, Grand Mutation (Touch)

When asked what it’s like to work with trained classical musicians like Nils Henrik Asheim, Lasse Marhaug told Dusted, “Abstract electronics and noise are like potatoes; they fit with a large number of dishes.” At the outset of Grand Mutation, the 2007 pairing between Marhaug, a noise musician, and Asheim, an organist, the comfort-food metaphor seems apt: It’s all cozily reassuring drones, familiar as the sound of a plane overhead, intimate as your own idle thoughts. But it grows, almost imperceptibly, into a massive tangle of long held organ tones interlaced with Marhaug’s quicksilver oscillations. At it peaks, it’s as mammoth as the heaviest heavy metal; the closing “Clavaeolina”, on the other hand, has the spectral, shimmering qualities of Messiaen or Ligeti. As far as meat and potatoes go, it’s pretty damned luxe.