The last time I heard the name Jasper, Texas mentioned, it was almost ten years ago, and it wasn't a good thing. In 1998, three white men from Jasper, Texas chained a black man to the back of their pickup truck and dragged him to death, rightly causing a nationwide outcry. As far as I know, Swedish musician Dag Rosenqvist has no personal connection to that event, but it must have struck enough of a nerve within him to name his music project after the small county in the middle of the lone star state.
Rosenqvist is a multi-instrumentalist who places guitar at the middle point in most of his tracks, then layers in drums, drones, organs, field recordings, electronics, and processing. His tracks are at times so delicate they sound like they're on the verge of collapse, and at others they're so dense and loud that they sound like they're going to blow out speakers. On I'll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You, seven long tracks stretch out to nearly an hour in length, and there's a good mixture of warm, layered production and lo-fi grit.
Opening track "Blown Out To Sea, I'm Never Coming Back" is worthy of the long title, as it opens with a long wash of soft guitar feedback and processed drone before building some steam with programmed beats and an uplifting guitar melody before again dissolving again. "Braille" again pulls together multiple guitar melodies in a deceptive way over some subtle drones and noise, while "Letting Go (The World Is Coming To An End)" mingles music box melodies over found sound before the track shuffles off into another foggy dreamscape comprised of muted guitar tones stretched to oblivion.
A majority of the release is so quiet that it's almost easy to space out if you're not listening closely. In fact, my only major beef with the release is during the second half of "My Heart Is Broken, I've Lost My Way," when a static-filled guitar filter is used that completely breaks from the more subtle techniques on the rest of the release. I've listened to a lot of releases like this in the past couple years, but for some reason I find myself coming back to this disc. It's one of those occasions where an artist has really done something more with less and the result is an album that is soothing and at times very sad, not a bad combination for when the weather is getting colder. A great little disc on an up-and-coming label.