Early this year remarkable reviews began to appear in the British music press for the latest sensations to come out of Scandinavia. There was a difference to many of the other acts earning Norway its reputation at the time, though. Jaga Jazzist is what can only be described as a supergroup. The ten members of the band are also active participants in, Kim Hiorthoy's group, Bobby Hughes Experience, Bugges Wesseltoft, Motorpsycho, Big Bang, Euroboys, Jazzkammer, Biosphere, Supersilent, Alog and Lasse Marhaug, covering every type of music from electronica, nu-jazz and rock. Jaga Jazzist are well known in Norway for contributing to almost every quality Norwegian record released in recent times.
The comparisons reached for by the press were as broad as they get - from Talk Talk, Soft Machine, Eric Satie, John Coltrane and Don Cherry to acts like Aphex Twin, Stereolab, Squarepusher, Isotope 217 and Tortoise. This range sums up the breadth and originality of the group's sound. Jaga Jazzist are indeed a musical one off who’s arsenal includes trumpets, trombone, electric guitar, bass, tuba, two bass clarinets, Fender Rhodes and vibraphone, and it is the mixture of these instruments with a sometimes harsh electronic edge that really makes the music stand out. It is melodic, delicate and subtle but a million miles from wallpaper music. It is music that demands and rewards attention, further proof that you don't have to shout to avoid being lazy chill-out-by-numbers.
The group came to the attention of Ninja Tune who will be releasing their work outside of Norway from now on and while "A Livingroom Hush" garnered critical acclaim , its distribution was patchy. Hence, this re-release, complete with the very odd but very wonderful Monty-Python-on-safari promo video from "Animal Chin".
It's a journey into sounds and moods that manages to sound both classic and contemporary and is an oasis to anyone interested in music which combines iconoclasm with beauty, melody with avant gardism and, in general, a complete lack of interest in anything other than good music.
The nine piece Norwegian jazz-rock-experimental behemoth that is Jaga Jazzist return to the fray with their stunning new album, “One Armed Bandit”. All galloping rhythms, and grandiloquent reach, main man Lars Horntveth describes the new sound, tongue-a-little-in-cheek, as “Wagner meets Fela Kuti!” Certainly we find it harder to imagine a better soundtrack being written for the first Nollywood Viking epic.
Jaga Jazzist have become something of a musical phenomenon in Norway since they started out fifteen years ago. Not only is this instrumental band regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative in Norway, the members are all involved in other musical projects and have in one way or another contributed to almost every significant recording to come out of that part of the world in the last few years. Their albums sell huge quantities in their own country and massive crowds come to their shows. Their international acclaim is signalled by the fact that the new album was mixed in Chicago by John McEntire of Tortoise.
Lars Horntveth began writing the music for “One-Armed Bandit” early in 2008. Looking for a way between and beyond the band’s previous albums, “What We Must” and “The Stix,” Hornveth decided that everything would be charted and written out, noth more focussed and layered than ever before. One night, while listening to Fela Kuti, he came up with title-track “One Armed Bandit” and everything fell into place – a kinf of ride of the polyrhythmic acid-addled valkyries that scarecely lets up across the 53 minutes of the final album.
Having taken on two new members, Øystein Moen and Stian Westerhus, the band rented a house in the Swedish forest to rehearse “this new Zappa-esque, more humorous prog-rock music.” On their return they rehearsed endlessly, a new tune each week, until in December 2008 the band went to Cabin Recorders to put down the album with Jørgen Træen, their producer since the early days of the group. Unfortunately, through no fault of the band’s, Træen got tinnitus after three weeks, so the mixing was completed in Chicago by the band and none other than John McEntire.
At heart this collective is a restless soul, going in many directions at the same time, but always going forward. Fast. The band always push their boundaries, both personal and musical. That is why they are impossible to categorize. And that's why they're special. Jaga is something natural and beautiful. A necessity. For both them and us.
For the past ten years, all roads Shepherd has followed have been slowly leading to Elaenia - an album with roots deep in his formative years, and one that draws upon everything Shepherd has done so far. An album that provides context to the music that Shepherd has been making to date.
Every DJ set he’s performed, every talent he has produced, every composition he has written are thought of as precursors to Elaenia - a dazzling score which puts Shepherd in the spotlight as a composer who has produced an album that bridges the gap between his rapturous dance music and formative classical roots.
Drawing inspiration from classical, jazz, electronic music, soul and even Brazilian popular music, Elaenia - named after the bird of the same name - is the epitome of the forward-thinking Floating Points vision in 2015.
The esteemed Norwegian troupe forge a tougher, dizzying sound galvanised by electronic experimentation in their 6th studio album. Since their last LP, 'Live With Britten Sinfonia' (2013), the band's principle song-writer Lars Hortveth took off to L.A. where, inspired by the scale of space and its flashing neon lights, he started composing the material which would become 'Starfire'.
Recorded back in Oslo at his band's own studio, the album neatly transposes the rolling, glittering landscapes of California to Jaga Jazzist's rockier topographies and smart jazz chops, manifesting a wide-scoped album mixing epic synth themes right out of '80s Hollywood with deft drum breaks, crashing machine drums and wobbly, restlessly playful electronics. The results cross between Goblin's prime late '70s prog, David Axelrod-like funk, and searing electro-jazz fusion, often all within the same track.
Thick sleeves thick printed inner sleeves Coloured 180g vinyl free download code! 2016 Reissue of "Mutations" - the second work of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble from 2009.
Not existing anymore since 2012 The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble now finally makes all long-time sold out releases available again on all formats (cd | vinyl | digital).
The series of reissues starts with their genre-determining second output "Mutations". An act combining profound musical sensibilities, deeply emotional harmonies and an acute ear for genre inter-breeding, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble placed itself and the confluent of dusty, gritty jazz and low-end doom-laden drones, and came up with a sound which is at the same time warm and dark, brooding and misty, cinematic and dynamic.
Influenced by acts like Bohren & der Club Of Gore and The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble the anonymous russian group Povarovo mixed ideas of existing darker jazz acts with neoclassical elements and the melancholia of traditional russian music to a new level of intensity.
Not just a promotion platitude: an immense debut record. Time to immerse.
Composer/producer Nils Frahm's latest album with his childhood trio nonkeen highlights that Frahm is best when he's having fun: proposing limitations but then pushing back against them when the musical moment seems to call for it.