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Press:

New York Times:
"The art photographer Michelle Arcila and the bassist Eivind Opsvik share an aesthetic of haunting introspection, and the desire to seek out beauty in austerity. “A Thousand Ancestors,” released in an edition of 500 on Loyal Label, is an interdisciplinary duet: atmospheric miniatures, each presented with a corresponding image. Mr. Opsvik made all the music himself, overdubbing acoustic bass, lap steel guitar, electric organ and percussion. Ms. Arcila’s pieces range from a graveside still life to thwarted portraits in which faces are obscured by foliage. The package includes an LP and 10 photographic prints, encouraging a tactile, track-by-track experience: a film in fragments, or maybe a high-concept slide show with no projector. Whatever you call it, there’s reason to hope for more like this "

Blurt Magazine:
5 Stars "For example, a minimalist bass and percussion motif in “El Cadejos” gives way to something more freeform and propulsive, and that feeling is mirrored in the image depicted on the “El Cadejos” print, a shadowy figure on the side of forested mountain moving out from a thick puff of mist (or possibly smoke) in search of… something. Other sensations are no less palpable, from the subtle reverie of an elderly lady partially hidden behind foliage that’s underlined by some jittery/jocular rapid strokes of the bass bow (for “Vartdal”); to the early morning wooziness conveyed by a figure (or possibly two—is that the tip of a dog’s nose there as well?) partially under some bedcovers while the gently droning soundtrack suggests sunlight gradually filling the room.
It’s impossible to convey the sheer beauty of this release—but then, when has any art review done full justice to the actual art, hmm? "

The Blue Moment:
"The images and the music are as easy and rewarding to appreciate separately as together. Arcila’s photographs — whether portraits, landscapes, interiors, or close-ups of flowers and graves — display a cool, poised vision that certainly encourages you to spend time examining them (here’s her Flickr gallery). Opsvik’s miniatures incorporate a certain amount of relatively gentle noisemaking while also featuring solo and overdubbed arco strings in passages of powerful lyricism, sometimes using systems-like structures, occasionally floating free. Like his partners’ photographs, they’re austere but approachable.
Both elements are strong on atmosphere. I’d sign Opsvik up for a film soundtrack tomorrow. And I might very well ask Arcila to shoot it, too."

Das Klienicum (DE):
"Klassisch anmutend, tief schürfend, von einer schwere geschlagen, die manchmal schmerzen verursacht, wie eine düstere erinnerung. die musik opsviks kann treffen. der vergangenheit kann man nicht aus dem weg gehen. wenngleich wir nicht mit derer der beiden länder vertraut sind, werden uns ähnlichkeiten offenbar. so als würde man hinter die kulisse der nachbarschaftlichen freundlichkeit blicken"

 

 

Michelle Arcila / Eivind Opsvik
A THOUSAND ANCESTORS
(LL017)

A Thousand Ancestors

$75 + shipping (USA $3:50, International $30)

(music also on iTunes and similar)

A Thousand Ancestors is the culmination of a long-standing collaboration between photographer Michelle Arcila and musician/bassist Eivind Opsvik which synthesize the strong influence of visual imagery on music, and vice versa. Hailing from Costa Rica and Norway, two different countries with distinct cultural traditions and folklore, A Thousand Ancestors is an exploration of family history and the continuing influence of ancestral narratives on the present generation.
The artists aim to slow time for the observer, and allow him/her to perhaps uncover distant, buried memories of their own during the encounter. A beautiful example of this can be experienced in “A Strange Gratitude”-- the second track and print on A Thousand Ancestors pairs a steady, escalating tension of bass strings with a slightly ominous, dreamlike image of two silver-haired figures obscured by a thin veil of dying tree branches in the foreground, hazy snow-covered mountains stretching behind.      
  
The project is a limited edition box set (numbered edition of 500) designed by Espen Friberg containing a ten-track vinyl LP (plus a CD and download card), ten photographic prints, each of which correspond to a track on the record, and a poster. Released by the Brooklyn based record label; Loyal Label.
  
Eivind Opsvik first started recording the music in his basement studio in 2011. The starting point and framework was his solo double bass performances, which sometimes had projections of Michelle’s photographs (like at Williamsburg’s now defunct Monkey Town). But when it came time to record he intentionally did not put any limits on himself. He decided to orchestrate the bass centric pieces with subtle overdubbing and other studio techniques and with light touches of other instruments, like lap steel guitar,  50’s Hammond Solovox organ and some percussion and drum machine. The process sometimes included having specific photo prints with him in the studio, other times the general theme and mood of the project served as a guideline and inspiration.

View the photographs here + listen to track #2 and #6 linked here:

Photography/Music
01. Ramoen
02. A Strange Gratitude
03. El Cadejos
04. Los Desamparados
05. One Room Into Another
06. Arise
07. Zeneida
08. Painted White
09. Vartdal
10. Familiar Ghosts

All Photography © Michelle Arcila

All Music Composed by Eivind Opsvik
Eivind Opsvik: Double Bass, Electric and Lap Steel Guitars, Organ, Synthesizers, Electric Piano, Percussion, Programming and Field Recordings

Recorded, Mixed and Produced by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground, Brooklyn, NY, 2011 - 2014
Mastered by Josh Bonati at Bonati Mastering in Brooklyn, NY, March 2014

Text by Lisa Bernhoft- Sjødin
Graphic Design by Espen Friberg

A Thousand Ancestors is dedicated in loving memory to Mama Zeneida and Tante Solveig.