Cover Guitar Poetry

Album info



Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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FLAC 48 $ 13.20
  • 1She'll Arrive Between 10 & 1103:53
  • 2Katie, Not Klara03:15
  • 3What Once Was03:19
  • 4Next Time02:03
  • 5Tvær Stjörnur03:49
  • 6Arachne's Magical Weaving03:22
  • 7The Whole Story02:43
  • 8You Know How This Will End02:26
  • 9Waiting for the Tram03:40
  • 10Maturing Backwards02:38
  • 11Closing the Book01:40
  • Total Runtime32:48

Info for Guitar Poetry

"I love the music of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan," says Icelandic guitarist Mikael Máni. "I think that's the main reason why I often write songs for the guitar that could just as easily be sung." Those words bring us to the core of what "Guitar Poetry", Máni’s debut release on ACT, is all about. This album introduces an instrumentalist who brings passion and expertise not just to his refined and subtle compositions but also to his vivid and fluent improvisation, and who combines all this with a highly skilled singer-songwriter’s clarity and directness. His multilayered music functions well, and on many levels. Mikáel Mani calls it a mixture of jazz, rock and impressionism. Yet he never loses the idea of being both accessible and sophisticated. He doesn’t just stimulate listeners intellectually, he also knows how to cut straight through to the emotions.

From the very first song of "Guitar Poetry", "She'll Arrive Between 10 & 11", Mani gives a pointer to the expressive range which listeners can expect throughout the album. The guitarist makes a strong initial impression with the warmth of his acoustic sound: fine, brilliant, spacious. From this, a simple folkloristic melody emerges, a few sparse harmonies - a musical idyll. And then, in the middle of the song, everything turns into noise, becomes gloomy, threatening, almost despairing... and finally finds reconciliation by returning to the calm of the original theme.

Mikael Máni’s mastery of presenting contrasts and of springing musical surprises is exceptional for one so young. And he is also a guitarist with his very own signature style, one which does not lend itself to categorisation within the usual spectrum of the instrument in jazz. His jazz leanings are more evident in his approach to playing than in any obvious affiliation with the genre or the canon. In fact, folk-derived techniques such as finger-picking, or echoes of the blues, Americana and Nordic songs and a unique, cinematic quality are more in evidence. But perhaps most importantly, whereas Máni plays purely instrumentally, his music - always and unmistakably - sings.

Here is an artist for whom the shallowness of competitive virtuosity or instrumental vanity are completely alien. Mikael Máni lets his music flow and creates intensity, sometimes through calm and relaxation, sometimes through energy and small outbursts that can explode briefly from any tonality into noise, only to either find their way back or discover completely new ways out. And sometimes you imagine that there must surely be two or more guitarists playing, such is his skill in creating parallel layers of sound. But, with the exception of two numbers recorded in multi-track, it is always and only Mikael solo: he has the talent to play harmonies, melodies and fragments that then live on and grow in the listener's mind as essential parts of the fascinating tapestry which he weaves.

The concept of story-telling in music may have been desperately over-worked and become a cliché, but that, quite simply, is what Máni does: all the songs on "Guitar Poetry" tell stories, open up spaces and land-scapes, draw pictures. And they are the reflection of a guitarist who is as unconventional as he is musically approachable, an extroverted introvert whose whole way of being is to assert the primacy of expression and emotion.

Mikael Máni Ásmundsson, guitar
Skúli Sverrisson, bass
Magnús Trygvason Elíassen, drums
Davíð Þór Jónsson, vibraphone

Mikael Mani Asmundsson
will perform a solo guitar concert at the jazz festival on August 28th. The music is Mikael’s way of combing together his two favorite but vastly different music genres; singer-songwriter music and instrumental jazz. From jazz he uses elements of improvisation and rich harmonies, and despite all the songs being instrumental, the strongest connection is with lyric driven singer-songwriter music. Mikael will also play some of his favorite songs, and you might hear songs by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Megas. Being influenced by vocalists, the style of the songs is lyrical and melodic. Each song contains its own stories that Mikael created around them, and the forms are visual, evoking narratives. He is reminiscent of guitarists like Bill Frisell and Julian Lage.

He recorded this repertoire consisting of original songs in Amsterdam in November, where he is based, and wanted to take the opportunity while in Iceland to perform it for his country.

Mikael Máni released his first album, Bobby, in 2018, where he was accompanied by Skúli Sverrisson and Magnús Trygvason Elíassen. (“Concept” album about the controversial chess master Bobby Fischer’s life). The album received airplay on BBC 3 & 6 and its songs have been streamed over 1,000,000 times. His latest album, Nostalgia Machine, delved deeper into Mikael’s musical language. The album received recognition from Cerys Matthews, was chosen as the jazz album of the year by Morgunblaðið, and was nominated for the Kraumur Music Awards. Mikael has two albums coming out in 2023 his solo guitar album “What Once Was” and the other with his Quintet “Innermost”.

Booklet for Guitar Poetry

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