shapes & phases is the debut release of the duo vertex, consisting of Petter Vågan (lapsteel, acoustic guitar, electronics) and Tor Haugerud (percussion, signal generator, field recordings). Together they have delved into their own blend of electro-acoustic improvisation, with elements ranging from lowercase electronic drones, via country/folk-influenced minimalism, to distorted industrial walls of sound. Vertex manage to move between these diverse sources without losing touch of their own sound.
As the album title reveals, this music focuses upon shape and form and how it develops with time. Although this is free improvised music, the duo always tries to sustain the mood and direction set from the opening sound. This approach creates an honest expression, free from clichés that could chain the music to any specific connotation or genre.
The sound of the album has been further enhanced in the mixing process by the great Giuseppe Ielasi; accentuating the focal points and revealing the nuances of the interaction between the two musicians.
On shapes and phases (2010, SOFA):
*Nominated for the international Qwartz-award in 2011, held in Paris, France
…With their original approach to the process of making music they have, through the collective Vertex, given us something they are basically the sole provider of…This is music far beyond what we usually associate with melody and rhythmics. In their electro-‐acoustic world, vertex develops music based on moods, grooves, phrases and industrial-‐sounding walls of sound. The two make soundscapes that no-‐one else but them could -‐ and vertex themselves won’t be able to reenact what they have done on this record ever… Together they constitute a duo that offer both anticipation and exitement.””
-‐ Tor Hammerø, Side2
“Shapes & Phases is a fine record of improvisation -‐ the delicate, thoughtul, restrained kind, although it never gets minimalistic or Spartan.”
-‐ François Couture, Monsieur Délire
”A duo that builds strong and durable soundstructures… They form an electroacoustic experience that within well defined limits carries the listener in to a room where melancholic motives, droning industrial chaos and elektronic soundsmashing makes up the furniture. Vertex has done a good job of finding homogeneous textures..with appealing elements of melodies performed on lapsteel and acoustic guitars…”
-‐ Stephan Meidell, Bergens Tidende
”Right from the opening piece, “Blue Shift”, we find the stark acoustic guitar and suspense-‐filled percussion drift and hover likes ghosts in somber cemetery. Eerie electronics, skeletal percussion provide a dark ambience on “”Hutong”. Vertex excel at ominous, carefully crafted textures and layers of twisted static evoke apprehensive vibes.”
-‐ DownTown Music Gallery, New York
“If your personal collection includes Tetuzi Akiyama, Emeralds, Alan Licht, Toshi Nakamura and Oren Ambarchi (Supersilent too, but I guess that goes without saying), you’ll certainly enjoy this.”
-‐ Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic