A Thousand Ancestors //

Album label: 
Release date: 
Recording location: 
Greenwood Underground, Brooklyn, NY
Recording date: 
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Artwork design: 
Espen Friberg
Artwork design: 
Michelle Arcila
Mastering engineer: 
Josh Bonati
Mixing engineer: 
Eivind Opsvik
Eivind Opsvik
Recording engineer: 
Eivind Opsvik
  • 1. Ramoen (05:02)
  • 2. A Strange Gratitude (03:22)
  • 3. El Cadejos (04:22)
  • 4. Los Desamparados (01:13)
  • 5. One Room Into Another (04:08)
  • 6. Arise (05:30)
  • 7. Zeneida (04:00)
  • 8. Painted White (04:12)
  • 9. Vartdal (03:08)
  • 10. Familiar Ghosts (03:19)

Eivind Opsvik - Double Bass, Electric and Lap Steel Guitars, Organ, Synthesizers, Electric Piano, Percussion, Programming and Field Recordings

A Thousand Ancestors is the culmination of a long-standing collaboration between photographer Michelle Arcila and musician/bassist Eivind Opsvik which synthesize the strong influence of visual imagery on music, and vice versa. Hailing from Costa Rica and Norway, two different countries with distinct cultural traditions and folklore, A Thousand Ancestors is an exploration of family history and the continuing influence of ancestral narratives on the present generation.
The artists aim to slow time for the observer, and allow him/her to perhaps uncover distant, buried memories of their own during the encounter. A beautiful example of this can be experienced in “A Strange Gratitude”-- the second track and print on A Thousand Ancestors pairs a steady, escalating tension of bass strings with a slightly ominous, dreamlike image of two silver-haired figures obscured by a thin veil of dying tree branches in the foreground, hazy snow-covered mountains stretching behind.

The project is a limited edition box set (numbered edition of 500) designed by Espen Friberg containing a ten-track vinyl LP (plus a CD and download card), ten photographic prints, each of which correspond to a track on the record, and a poster. Released by the Brooklyn based record label; Loyal Label.

Eivind Opsvik first started recording the music in his basement studio in 2011. The starting point and framework was his solo double bass performances, which sometimes had projections of Michelle’s photographs (like at Williamsburg’s now defunct Monkey Town). But when it came time to record he intentionally did not put any limits on himself. He decided to orchestrate the bass centric pieces with subtle overdubbing and other studio techniques and with light touches of other instruments, like lap steel guitar, 50’s Hammond Solovox organ and some percussion and drum machine. The process sometimes included having specific photo prints with him in the studio, other times the general theme and mood of the project served as a guideline and inspiration.