“…Stackenäs, whose acoustic guitar solo…was a personal highlight of FOTC 2004. Sounding a bit like a detuned John Russell, Stackenäs evokes the strange lute and harp music of Ethiopia, Kenya or Mauritania, sustaining pace and inspiration throughout…” JMVS – Paris Transatlantic
“The large number of expressions he creates have in common that they seem true and well-reflected. Stackenäs is present in his material, either …. kindly with feedback tradition or creating sound and rythm that goes beyond common ground of the guitar…[Stackenäs] combines the playful and the sofisticated.” -Arild R Anderssen, Aftenposten, Norway
“Creating something different — not to mention memorable — with the world’s most popular instrument, the guitar, often seems as unlikely as winning the national lottery. Yet young Swedish guitarist David Stackenäs has done so on this short, cunningly enigmatic disc.” Ken Waxman, Jazz Weekly on the solo-album “the guitar”
On 2017 solo release “BRICKS” (Clean Feed Records)
New York City Jazz Records:
“Swedish guitarist David Stackenäs’ Bricks offers an interesting comparison to Moimême’s recording. In a shorter set of five improvised sketches recorded in the studio on either of two small-bodied acoustic guitars, Stackenäs explores ambient soundscapes on “Páramo”, laying his guitar out flat, preparing it with a drumstick wedged perpendicular to the strings and striking it with a stick to sustain and shape thin whining drones laced with multiple overtones. Elsewhere, however, he favors a more traditional approach, but achieves its signature style through tumbling muted figures recalling the double thumb-rolls of kumbengo (ostinato) patterns of West African kora players, also perhaps the rasgueado finger-rolls of flamenco guitarists or even the fingerpicking styles of early Delta ragtime guitarists such as Blind Blake. The guitar’s high-pitched plinks and mid-ranged plunks mix with sliding attacks, muted notes and accelerated arpeggios to create a polyrhythmic amalgam of considerable interest.”
Jazzwise: “David Stackenäs’ latest solo set – his previous one, Separator, was released eight years ago – documents the Swedish acoustic guitarist’s ongoing developments and experiments with his instrument. As befits a study of this type, tracks vary significantly in methodology and style, with spidery John Russell- like runs rubbing up alongside high-toned drone pieces that revive the restless explorations found on Derek Bailey’s String Theory. Stackenäs engages a variety of strategies such as open tunings, added bridges and other modifications, all of these especially effective when describing strains of fourth world exotica where warped gamelan peals cosy up to rippling counterfeit koras in remote echoes of Raymond Roussel’s surreal jungle rituals. The album’s title suggests a collation fixated on individual units of creation, where methods and modes are quarantined and put to the test. Taken as a holistic enterprise, Bricks may lack coherence, but each separate component is worthy of deeper investigation, the building blocks of an avant-garde adventurer watchful not to lose his soul amid the wreckage of the periphery.”
Marco Biaso – Storia della Musica
Jazznytt magazine, Norway:
On David Stackenäs’ album ‘Bricks’ and Bibrax:
It’s extra demanding to say something new and fresh with the world’s most popular instrument between hands, but Stockholmer David Stackenäs and Amsterdam-resident Raphael Vanoli have found inputs to do just that. To succeed, they have both developed alternative techniques, but it is first and foremost the vision of avoiding clichés and navigate towards something original that lies behind. During the last two decades, Stackenäs has been one of the foremost and most interesting performers of improvised acoustic guitar music.
He has freed himself from the dominant European directions on the string field, while keeping an open ear towards traditional forms. On the solo album The Guitar from 2000, you meet the Swedish guitarist’s basic ideas. On the new album Bricks you can hear how work, development and maturity are positive influences in the man’s music. The opening track “Plaza Hidalgo” makes me think avant while listening to the melody and being impressed with technical skills. Use of EBows and open tuning give the sound explorer space to move in. David Stackenäs shows extensive ability to hold many threads together. He gets the five songs to be pieces in a meaningful mosaic. The album documents why this guitarist should be mentioned as important.
Raphael Vanoli plays electric guitar, but by no means like it’s usually done. He blows on the strings and treats the guitar as if it were a flute. His instrument is prepared. The amplifier is turned up to maximum performance, and two booster pedals help to rearrange the guitar into a hypersensitive tool. We all know the pictures of Jimi Hendrix where he keeps the guitar up to the mouth, but when Vanoli does the same, the listening experience becomes quite different. Vanolis aesthetics has more in common with Oren Ambarchi and Loren Connors than “good old” Jimi. The music is pushing and moving slowly. I get the feeling that something can soon detonate. It sounds both dark and beautiful. The long and airy segments are interrupted by heavy slaps, and the strings vibrate with an ease that gives a particular resonance. The expressions are almost layered. At the bottom, a drone swells. At the top, metal rattles. In the middle layer, the composite stories are told which make the nine tracks worth seeking out. The melodious subtitles of Vanoli have something in common with the openness to traditional forms of Stackenäs.
Both of these guitarists do necessary work. They move me as a listener, and revitalize each of their areas with good tone.
Arild R. Andersen