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.
A Silver Mt Zion (as the band was first known) was formed by Efrim, Thierry and Sophie (all of GY!BE) at the beginning of 1999, and after a debut performance at Constellation's Musique Fragile concert series, the trio recorded this sublime debut record on 8-track at the original Hotel2Tango in November of that year.
Starting with simple, stirring piano themes written by Efrim, the music swirls and sways with multiple violin tracks from Sophie and plucked contrebasse from Thierry (his first recording on upright acoustic bass). What initially began as a single long, sparse chamber piece evolved into more fully-orchestrated movements, interspersed with tapes, drones and loops, along with some vocals.
Guest musicians include Aidan Girt (GY!BE, Exhaust, 1-Speed Bike), Gordon Krieger (Exhaust) and Sam Shalabi (Land Of Kush).
Additional taped fragments are from Efrim's archives, with contributions from Aidan. The resulting series of plaintive ensemble pieces shivers with intimate sadness. He Has Left Us Alone. is among the most requested records in our catalogue for film projects.
The album was dedicated to Efrim's dog Wanda.
For this release Aidan Baker (co-founder of Nadja and member of Arc), is aided by his brother, Richard Baker, on drums. Recorded in Toronto and Berlin, 'Smudging' includes six songs comprised of two long epic tracks, with guitar textures and hypnotic rhythm structures to create a beautiful and dreamy listening experience. The guitar drones succeed one another, alternating with more rhythmic and structured brackets. "Smudging" is a work that, both in the execution and in the structure of the six tracks that comprise it, represents another confirmation of the stylistic code reached by the eclectic Canadian musician, who's determined in his aim to drag the listener, with extreme elegance, into the multiple parallel worlds created by his unlimited sounds. Ltd x 400 copies.
Stepping outside of the Nadja context for the duration of two long meditative tunes, Aidan Baker pairs up with Idklang for a very nice albeit somewhat very improvised sounding and apparently "Twin Peaks"-inspired album. I am not familiar with the second musician's regular output, and can therefore only compare "In The Red Room" to Aidan Baker's past discography. There is less distortion this time around, but the same kind of slowly building atmospheres and gritty, emotional strings. Maybe not the one record I would recommend as an introduction to these artists or this genre of experimental guitar work, but still a very nice album.
In Underground / DIY circles the band RADARE (formerly ACTRESS) are no longer unknown. Only two albums were released, with four years between the last album "Hyrule" and the current work "In Argen".
The development this band has made in this time seems unbelievable. From hard and fast elements they have now fully adopted and expanded the sound range to Fender Rhodes, trombone, clarinet and piano. The result is a deeply gloomy, morbid doomjazz. The band is strongly oriented on the same model as Bohren & der Club of Gore.
The atmosphere and the tension are profoundly overwhelming and compelling. The band remains focused on clever details and subtleties and convinces with depth and brilliance. This could easily be a perfect new soundtrack for "Twin Peaks" or "Mulholland Drive."
This record pushes the idea of sharing a record to the extreme. Both sides start with a new song from each band, long songs (approx 12 min) which let both bands enough time to developp their own ambience full of intensity and melodic loops. These new songs are followed by collaboratives drones which prove that these two bands were made to work together and share a record. The atmosphere is dark but always full of melodies and progressions.
DEATH is the first of two installment of the collaborative effort between thisquietarmy (Canada) & Yellow6 (UK), two of the most innovative guitarists in the current ambient scene. “VALLEY” is the 2nd part of this lonely journey across the desert. While the last track of “DEATH” left us wretched and drained on the ground, “Dunes”, the first track of “VALLEY”, picks up with a slow awakening from this state of comatose.
Unique mix of ambient, industrial, experimental trip hop, jazz and electronica: Formed in a dingy Melbourne warehouse at the turn of the century, Terminal Sound System began as a vehicle for Skye Klein, half of Relapse Records cult doom/noise duo HALO, to explore his interest in experimental electronic music and Dub.