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on 15 April 2003
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.
0Comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 June 2003
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!
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 June 2002
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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on 18 June 2003
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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on 2 November 2002
I haven't listen to electronic music before that is so close to jazz. Ok Norway has great jazz tradition, but these guys... Well I feel special for having this. They don't get carried away from the electronic offerings. They keep the balance so well. The rhythms are so good. I'll say it again I haven't listened to electronic music before so close to jazz. There is feeling, a deeper understading, sailing towards the perfect composition, I haven't experienced this before but I surely wished I could lived it every day. 70's free form brought today for who I ask? For me sure I say. This is remarkable. In three words...remarkable remarkable remarkable!!!
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on 7 April 2004
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!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 April 2003
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 July 2002
When I initially heard the opening bars of the first track I was a bit taken aback as I thought that this CD wasn't going to be up to much. However, getting over that and listening on has certainly changed my opinion. It has a very contemporary feel but at the same time could have been something produced in the 70's by some of the leading lights of fusion. The track titles are strange but don't let that detract from the music which is excellent.
There are a large number of intrumentalists that hail from many different musical backgrounds in Norway and these different backgrounds are apparent on the different tracks. A welcome addition to my collection.
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