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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Geir Jenssen

By John Kuhlman
Published April 27, 2007

Cho Oyu
Ash International

Here’s another interesting package from the folks at Ash International—a disc of intermittently engaging field recordings, gathered by Geir Jenssen while climbing the sixth highest mountain in the world, neatly augmented with maps, photos and a detailed diary of his (somewhat harrowing) experiences on Cho Oyu in 2001. The recordings present a fairly convincing narrative, growing more chilly and spectral as he makes his way upward, quickly leaving behind the sounds of busy yak caravans and passing trucks, until nothing is left but cold blowing winds, static-filled radio transmissions, and the haunting sounds of birds flapping and fluttering around Jenssen's campfire. These are fascinating sounds, but sadly, Jenssen chooses to frame many of the tracks with some clumsy ethno-ambient musical loops, which are very distracting in this context, and hard to read as anything but a an unwarranted lack of faith in the value of his raw, unaltered recordings.