on 27 September 2013
Like many people, I still miss EST dreadfully - so does Magnus Ostrom evidently. Magnus of course, was the EST drummer, and whilst there are parts of this album that are reminiscent of EST at their finest - the way some tracks grow and build to a crashing and powerful crescendo being one - this is a progression from EST in many ways.
Progressive is a good word in fact. When I saw Magnus at Ronnie Scotts recently with a couple of friends, we all 3 agreed that the sound could best be described as 'progressive jazz'. Some reviewers have hinted at a Pink Floyd influence and certainly some of the guitar playing - on the latter stages of the title track in particular - are Dave Gilmour like. On other tracks the guitar is more akin to Snow Goose era Camel - smooth and mellow. Neither of those prog rock comparisons are meant to be pejorative - quite the opposite - this album bridges jazz and progressive rock admirably.
The drumming, as you would expect, is excellent throughout, but its the guitars, both electric lead and bass, that represent the real leap away from the EST formula. All of the playing is first rate and the compositions are varied, some powerful - Hour Of the Wolf being the prime example - and others, such as the ballad Mary Jane Doesn't Live Here Anymore, really moving. Overall, this is a fine album. Not the new EST maybe, something rather different, but a damn fine alternative.
on 10 May 2014
I was lucky enough to see this group along with Troyka (see my other reviews) recently. On the strength of their fantastic performance I bought this album. And just to note that Magnus's modesty and surprise at the standing ovation was touching indeed.
I agree with what has been already said, this is jazz-rock in the finest sense. It is much more interesting than a piano trio, even if that trio is EST. We have great tunes. We have complex driving rhythms which sound like a nightmare to play, intricate piano jazz and THAT guitar. And they seem happy to let tracks go on that little bit longer and build to lovely climaxes. The whole thing is just so musical and yes of course will draw comparisons with the Pat Metheny Group. I much prefer the guitar of Andreas Hourdakis however, he doesn't put a foot wrong. I find him more musical and his sound is far preferable to the guitar-synth that Metheny uses.
It's that good that I have serious trouble walking and listening at times.
This is a superbly atmospheric and beautifully recorded album that is at the slightly rockier end of jazz -rock without ever descending to the indulgent tendencies of that typifies the worst of the genre. To get an idea of how this album sounds imagine Pat Metheny minus the Brazilian/ World music frills and you'll have a fairly clear idea of the orientation of this set. The musicianship, level of composition and general creativity are all outstanding. Listen out for instance to guitarist Andreas Hourda whose leans beautiful tones and extensive armoury of tasty licks enthral throughout this disc. Likewise go to the title track, 'Searching for Jupiter' and hear some very tricky and intense rhythms that really build as the tune progresses. Yes, where ever you roam on this album there is something to enjoy.
on 25 January 2014
I know it may be heretic to say, but I never liked EST. Obviously a deep tragedy to lose Esbjorn Svensson, but my view is that EST was too up itself; self indulgent. Now Magnus Ostrom has his own stuff and both CDs are very good, this is the better of the two. Title track edges it for me.