Håkon Skogstad Presents ‘8 Concepts of Tango’ Out March 15, 2024

Pure passion burns brightly with “8 Concepts of Tango,” with Håkon Skogstad displaying a real knack for storytelling without saying a single word. The melodies present a sense of yearning, of lust, with the rhythms highlighting the sheer intensity of the experience. Songs do their best to come together, playing off each other, resulting in this cohesive, coherent whole. Instrumentation has a stellar approach, with the pieces balanced on a dime. Many instruments opt for an angular attack, with the sudden staccato aspects a particular joy. Over the course of the work the ups and downs of the sound help to add to the sense of discovery.

Piano bounces about with “Caserón Porteño,” setting the tone. Significant degrees of tension and release of said tension give the track luxury. “Retroreflections” starts softly before suddenly bursting with sheer tenderness, featuring strings that feel as if they are in conversation with each other. The highlight is from the slow buildup of “A Contemplative Rhapsody” and a cyclical approach that feels downright decadent until the intense finale. Chords collide, and strings blend on the splendid “Tango contra Tango.” Industrial strength comes to the forefront on the stately pace of “The Anvil.” “Romance para Ocho” opts for a contemplative ode. Nearly violent with its intentions is the spirited “Battaglia,” which holds nothing back. The careful consideration of “Lamento” strolls through with this sense of loveliness, bringing the album to a close.

“8 Concepts of Tango” shows Håkon Skogstad’s uncanny ability to immerse the listener into a multifaceted, multi-layered, dense yet lovely realm.