Ydun by Jonathan Slaatto and Carsten Dahl is a duet of piano and cello energized by the improvisational techniques of Jazz.
The album Ydun, by classical cellist Jonathan Slaatto and jazz pianist Carsten Dahl, borrows its title from the goddess Iðunn. In the Icelandic epic Edda, Iðunn is a keeper of golden apples, a fruit with the magical ability to grant eternal youth. To summarize, a giant abducts Iðunn and as a result, the other gods begin to grow old. In the end, desperate to keep their youth, the aging and grey pantheon of gods rescue Iðunn and slay the giant.
Does Ydun refer to the goddess of youth in Norse Mythology? Is there a story behind the album title?
Like the aging gods in Iðunn’s story, Classical Music is often misunderstood as an old and out of date artform. Fortunately, a renaissance of new techniques and creativity is rejuvenating the genre. One technique is improvisation. Jonathan Slaatto and Carsten Dahl showcase its playful and subversive power. As a result, Ydun’s sound is challenging and unconventional.
At moments Ydun sounds like a rigorously composed classical album and at other times it has the characteristics of improvisation jazz. What role does improvisation play?
Nearly all works of Jazz contain heavy improvisation. In contrast, Classical Music is obsessed with historical accuracy and as a result, improvisation is rarely expressed. The album Ydun changes that. The creative characteristics of jazz influence the classical music of Ydun. Carsten Dahl brings improvisation techniques to the classically trained cellist Jonathan Slaatto. The strength of one discipline improves upon the weaknesses of the other. After all, isn’t that the point of any good collaboration?
How do you define and what do you expect from collaboration?
Improvised music can sound complex and disorderly therefore trying to understand it can be difficult. Ydun presents several challenging moments but they are organized around a structure of calming melody. The music gently leads you into esoteric waters. When you find yourself unexpectedly submerged in entropic sound, enjoy it while it lasts, a comfortable melody is always moments away.