If you’ve ever heard the Berlin guitarist Arne Jansen, you’ll know how difficult it is to forget his special sound. That passionate rummaging around in the warm diversity of the electric guitar, where bashful understatement mixes with playful sensuality. The humaneness become sound that always searches for what is special in the commonplace, exudes serenity and yet never itself comes to rest because its quest never ceases.
Originally from Flensburg, Jansen moved to Berlin in 1996 to study jazz guitar at the University of the Arts until 2001. In workshops with Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Philip Catherine he honed his craft and was soon playing alongside stars like Gitte Haenning, Tim Fischer and Katja Riemann. In the bands Jazzanova and, since 2010, the Nils Wülker Group, Jansen also attracted a lot of attention, but the centre of his creative universe is his own trio, with which he has released two critically acclaimed albums.
Now, with his third album, his ACT debut “The Sleep Of Reason”, Jansen again tells a very personal story. It is a collection of pieces about the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, who began his artistic career as a celebrated court painter, and who in the course of his long life transformed into a maverick visionary whose fateful influence on art cannot be overestimated, even 200 years after his death. On the contrary, Goya is becoming ever more contemporary, but Jansen wasn’t thinking about the Spaniard’s art-historical significance when he set out to translate Goya’s visual imagery into sound. The initial spark for the album was a personal encounter. When playing a concert a few years ago in Madrid, Jansen took the time to visit the famed Prado art gallery. As he was just about to leave his glance fell upon Goya’s Black Paintings. In particular the famous “Witches’ Sabbath” and “A Pilgrimage to San Isidro”, with their contorted faces and horrified eyes, left such a lasting impression on him that he speaks of this moment as the most intimate experience with art in his whole life. He knew immediately that that subject and that man would never let go of him, and back in Berlin he began occupying himself intensively with Goya. A veritable flood of ideas galvanised his composing quill into action, culminating in his album “The Sleep Of Reason”.