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Living Room Hush [CD]

Jaga Jazzist, Jaga Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: £7.04 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Dec 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Ninja Tune
  • ASIN: B0000799MS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,129 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Animal Chin
2. Going Down
3. Press Play
4. Airbourne
5. Real Racecars Have Doors
6. Low Battery
7. Midget
8. Made For Radio
9. Lithuania
10. Cinematic
11. Animal Chin (video)

Product Description

Product Description

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.

BBC Review

If you need any further proof that Europe (and particularly Norway) is the place where all the interesting stuff is happening, look no further than this record. A Livingroom Hush is the debut from Norwegian collective Jaga Jazzist, now given a wider release by Ninja Tune.

The album's already picked up critical praise (even from the NME!) with one memorable quote describing it as 'Charlie Mingus with Aphex Twin up his arse'. Though this is an interesting (if unsavoury) notion, the album is far from the kind of confrontational experience it suggests. Jaga Jazzist bolt together elements of electronica, formal jazz writing and the wide open spaces of dub and post rock into a lush, listenable stew that's very much their own.

Unlike some of their contemporaries, there aren't any specific references to jazz tradition; you won't find any Alice Coltrane samples here. In fact they're as likely to remind you of Soft Machine or John Barry as much as Herbie Hancock. This pluralist approach is laid out on the opening "Animal Chin" as flute and vibes patterns swirl over lurching breakbeats and churning bass, and the luscious glide of "Going Down", where luminous horns carve out aching melodic lines.

Often the cool beauty of the brass arrangements is reminiscent of Gil Evans or Oliver Nelson, and the short, sweet solos of Lars Horntveth, Jorgen Munkeby and Mathias Eick offer the same mix of introspection and inquisitiveness that you might find on a late 60s Blue Note date.

Nothing stays still for very long; "Airborne" kicks off as spacey jazz ballad peppered with digital crackle n' pop before morphing into a slinky Hancockian bass clarinet riff, joined by intricate countermelodies from strings and horns as the tenor takes over. All in under 6 minutes. Elsewhere you get space age bachelor pad music ("Lithuania"), breakbeat cheesetronica mashup ("Midget") or queasy abstract ambience ("Cinematic").

Jaga Jazzist's grasp of dynamics and structure(whether achieved in real time or through digital cut-up) puts them apart from the usual jazztronica suspects. It's the mix of 21st century texture, intelligent jazz writing and improvisational concision that makes this one of the most enjoyable records of this (or any other) year. --Peter Marsh

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest of Norway's jazz vanguard 15 April 2003
Format:Audio CD
After a few years grooving to the likes of Nils Petter Molvaer and Bugge Wesseltoft, a friend from Norway turned me on to Jaga Jazzist shortly before the UK release of this, their debut album. Looking back, one has to wonder why it took nearly two years for this Jazz classic to cross the North Sea in order to search out UK audiences.
The comparisons that have been made between the Jazzists and bands such Tortoise and Squarepusher are to be considered. But these comparisons pale once the album is listened to, and, in order for one to be fully immersed by the inspired eclecticism that is on offer here, listened to again. Unlike a lot of the "jazz-by-numbers" sampladelica that masquerades as the (nu) jazz scene these days, the 10-strong Jaga Jazzist tip their hats to their antecedents while putting together exquisite, highly melodic material of their own. And, although they remain on the right side of experimental, their tunes are, for the most part, upbeat and buoyant, which is an outlook often foregone by leftfield artists in the quest for idiosyncratic modes of expression. Made for radio? Maybe. But you won't find this on any breakfast show.
Having had the good fortune to see this band give an impassioned live performance earlier this year, I would recommend that any prospective purchaser snaps this album up immediately, and awaits new releases with baited breath, as this is a band with a long and exciting career ahead of them.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A candidate for album of the year 17 Jun 2002
Format:Audio CD
While Iceland has been getting a lot of media attention for its nice line in skewed Pop their neighbours in Norway have been quietly producing some of the best left-field music in recent years. The latest offering from Oslo is a young 10-piece called Jaga Jazzist who have already managed to sell out club dates in London before this album, their first, came out.
They embrace a broad church of influences - there are elements of Tortoise (tuned percussion, studio trickery, clean guitar arpeggios), Stereolab (old keyboard sounds, poppy brass and string arrangements) and Squarepusher (full-on electronics mixed with real instruments). Jaga Jazzist operate in a similar area to Tied and Tickled Trio, but with shorter solos, more melodies and more imaginative arrangements. Imagine a 'Bitches' Brew tribute coming out on the Warp label' and you're not a million miles away.
The album opens with 'Animal Chin', which is a real statement of intent. The 'difficult' time signature riff on Rhodes piano, xylophone and flute could have come from a 70's fusion album, but the skittering drums, both real and mechanical, keep proceedings utterly contemporary. 'Going Down' features a great, layered horn arrangement with some lovely bass clarinet and mock-swing drumming.
Elsewhere there are subtle elements of dub, but like all the other influences everything's been well mixed together. It's hard to pick individual tracks for praise as they're all good - perhaps special mentions should go to the bassy 'Low Battery' and the wonderfully summery 'Lithuania'. The album finishes on an uncharacteristic melancholic note in the guise of 'Cinematic': a simple piano motif played under a rising tide of haunting electronic distortions.
This is a brilliantly assured debut and easily one of the best albums I've heard this year. A must for all fans of the Jazzier end of Post Rock' - totally and utterly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New jazz at its best... 7 Jun 2003
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
What is happening in Norway? Following on from Bugge Wesseltoft’s “New Conceptions of Jazz” releases comes this even better CD that really does expand the horizons of where jazz is in 2002! From its stand-out opening number – “Animal Chin”, with its driving “drum & bass” back-beats and wonderfully “frantic” but controlled multi-layered riffs – the whole album just rolls along through a series of superbly played, tightly structured and often highly innovative tracks. Fusing the rhythms & break sequences used by club DJ’s, new wave electronica and the chord progressions of “traditional” modern jazz, “A Living Room Hush” is that rarest of things: an album that dares to push itself beyond accepted boundaries while remaining totally listenable to.
Good enough to stand comparison to Weather Report’s & The Mahavishnu Orchestra’s similarly ground-breaking “cross-over” explorations in the 1970’s, but devoid of their jarring excesses, Jaga Jazzist’s first outing will challenge you and then insidiously etch itself into your memory banks to demand repeat listening. Having, justifiably, received “rave” reviews on its, initially restricted, local release this album now sits here waiting for you to discover it. If you really do want to know – and enjoy – where creative new jazz is going look no further!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Albulm 18 Jun 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
A friend of mine suggested this albulm to me knowing that I had enjoyed Kings of Convenience and Royksopp. Was very excited by it. Some fantastic tunes. Especially the beautiful melody of Airborne, and the great flute riff on Real Race Cars Have Doors. Can't stop mumming along. Looking forward to hearing the new albulm. I recommend a listen - even for those who don't consider themselves hard core jazz fans.
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