Thursday, 28 February 2013

¡haUtUllin!: ¡haUtUllin! (Barefoot Records)

Without insulting anyone I think it’s safe to say that this album is a round of radical far out music.

Finnish Markus Pesonen – who back in 2011 did the splendid album Hum with his group – is playing guitar, pedals, gadgets and laptop on this album. Norwegian Haakon Berre – from (among other bands) Mighty Mouse – plays drums, percussion, junk, gadgets and laptop. Together they are ¡haUtUllin!

If the band name is strange, well, then the music is too to say the least. Fragments of sound and detached pieces of music. Feedback, electronic noise, junk and various things indicates that noise is God.

Personen’s and Berre’s musical experiments are important. Ideas are tried and developed in sound and music which challenges the listener. In the soundlab music is created and torn down. It’s tough business. Which makes the album even more important.

I’ll never wear this album out. On the other hand it’s extremely exciting to put your headphones on and join the spacey trip. It’s most fun if you do it without fastening your seatbelt. 

Review: Niels Overgård. Translation: DSI Swinging Europe.

Splashgirl: Field day rituals (Hubro)

No reason to get confused about the band-name or album-cover. Neither one is pointing you in direction of the music.
The name Splashgirl and the picture of some abandoned party-baloons don’t indicate that we are in some kind of Esbjörn Svensson trio-like universe. To be precise: it’s the experimental and somber side of Esbjörn Svensson my thoughts brushed upon when I heard this Norwegian trio.

In 2011 they released an album which was highly praised in the English music magazines Uncut and Jazzwise. The recent album is recorded in Seattle, where producer Randall Dunn (known from noise-band Sun O))) and the one to produce the next album from Danish Sort Sol) has been behind the magic buttons.

What’s interesting is that Dunn has moved the trio in the direction of a more classic sounding jazz – without ending in Bill Evans’ living room. This trio is loaded with bass and black as the night. It’s not the time to kid around.

Andreas Stensland Løwe (piano, keys.), Jo Berger Myhre (bass) and Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød (drums, perc.) have created a special platform for their music.
When they let Eyvind Kang play his viola on three numbers then they leave the jazz-trio-galaxy for real. Exciting!

Review: Niels Overgård. Translation: DSI Swinging Europe

Monday, 25 February 2013

Taylor's Universe: Worn Out (Marvel of Beauty)

When you speak about fusion within jazz, it’s usually about that genre which was very big in 70ies and 80ies.

Fusion can also be understood as a mixture. Robin Taylor is a fusionist who creates musical collages. He mixes different styles and pieces of music, sticks them together until it’s almost a micro symphony.
In 70ies this was something you heard from different people like Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Mike Oldfield.

Robil Taylor is a jazz-rock-shark, who preys on this genre. When you hear a number like Munich, the thought of collage is very evident. He weaves different parts together: in the beginning you enjoy Karsten Vogel’s soprano saxophone and delicious keyboards. After that it’s a juicy tenor saxophone played by Jakob Mygind with an organ underneath. All on top of stadion-rock-drums from Klaus Thrane. Then it’s a fine female voice and that’s the way it plays for the first 10 minutes. Shifting and changing in different parts .

Robin Taylor himself plays bass, guitar, keyboard and various on the album. He gets assistance from the musicians mentioned above together with trumpet player Hugh Steinmetz who has a beautiful intro on the opening track Floating Rats. Guitarist Jon Hemmersam is on the album too, where he plays a string of solos.

Maybe this current album is the best jazz-rock-album Robin Taylor has released (he has done some very interesting free-jazz-albums too).
He is wandering in many different directions at the same time, but somehow he finds his way home, while he is telling an exciting story which keeps your ears occupied.

it’s also worth mentioning that Taylor is making a comment on Danish military actions in Afghanistan with the title Jens in Afganistan.
It starts with a long march on the drums added a trumpet and a kind of poor flute on the keyboard together with politicians speaking on top of one another. It is a strain to listen to it, but then after three minutes the number unfolds in a wild-and-cool-Miles-Davis-jazz-rock-inspiration.

So even if the shoes on the cover of Worn Out and the genre Robin Taylor inhabits aren’t as fresh as a Mac-computer, it still is a relevant album. Especially for people who are addicted to grand and symphonic jazz-rock.

Review: Niels Overgård. Translation: DSI Swinging Europe.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Xylop: Xylop (Gateway) >> Thomas Albæk Jakobsen's Flux: Relationships (Fluxmusic)

Two, new jazz-projects from the north of Jutland, Denmark. Both quintets. The difference is more than the bandleader. One is led by a drummer, the other by a guitarist. Both have the rarely used letter X in their name.

Guitarist Jens Fisker’s group Xylop with Jakob Mygind on saxophone and Jakob Sørensen on trumpet plays straight forward and un-complicated. Jens Fisker chooses to make the music direct. The musicians stand up to the demands and play beautifully.

You find elements from jazz from the 50ies together with delicious bossa. A great album. But why in Gods name do they call themselves Xylop? You are sure to find them in first hit, if you google them, but the name is too silly for this great music. The same is to be said about the hideous cover which in no way describe the aesthetics of the music.

Relationships is latest project from drummer and entrepreneur, Thomas Albæk Jakobsen. Previous he has been the man behind JazzNord Ensemble.
He has created a band with musicians who all come from the north of Jutland. He calls this project Flux and wisely enough he has put his own name in front of it. A couple of years ago another Danish jazz orchestra had the name Flux.

Thomas Albæk Jakobsen is very ambitious and he has produced an album with advanced music. It makes demands of every musician. Especially Ole Visby must be praised for his enthusiastic and varied playing on tenor saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet. Inception pt. 1 is a fine example where he uses clarinet.

You have to respect Thomas Albæk Jakobsen for his courage in doing this demanding project. On the other hand it really demands something of the listener when the music is playing. And here I have to say, that my concentration failed now and then.

Reviews: Niels Overgård. Translation: DSI Swinging Europe.

Nik Bärtsch's Ronin: Live (ECM)

Fourth album is a live-album. Since 2005 Swiss, Nik Bärtsch and his band Ronin, has been connected to ECM. As a contemporary band rooted in time most people can count, Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin is a unique name at ECM.

It’s a double album with recordings from Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Great Britain and Japan. It’s also a goodbye to the original bass player, Björn Meyer. The significant bass with its constant groove up front in the sound has been a characteristic for the group.

Very appropriate the replacement, Thomy Jordi, is playing his bass on the very last number of the album. And it is good to hear: the group won’t run out of amazing bass grooves.

Live is presenting a number of compositions from earlier albums and it is obvious that the group has always had a vivid expression.

In the liner notes of the booklet, Nik Bärtsch writes, that a concert is a meditative and explosive kind of collaboration. Both for the musicians and in the meeting between musicians and audience, whom you don’t really hear by the way; the audience. And it’s a shame, since the music isn’t a fragile-solo-piano-concert by Keith Jarret, which would fall apart by a single cough. 

I could use a little more noise, otherwise it all gets too insipid. 

Review: Niels Overgård. Translation: DSI Swinging Europe.