Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jazkamer - Metal Music Machine 2 CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA026
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: November 2010

I've had a small brake from reviewing the Jazkamer monthly 2010, but this is not me quitting the promise of reviewing every monthly. No, I have been busy running a festival, and was planning on picking up where I left with submitting the August release. But what happens? During the festival I was, as the first person in the world, given by Lasse Marhaug himself this brand new Jazkamer release, and being taken by surprise by the title, I knew I couldn’t help myself doing this one first. So the rest would have to wait, but it will come of course. This release is due out November 2010.

When Metal Music Machine was released in 2006, Jazkamer was hailed over the world with this new metal direction, even by their old noise fans who obviously thought nothing lesser of this metal – noise combo. Metal and noise is in many ways related, and Jazkamer founder Lasse Marhaug has numerous times acclaimed his fondness of various metal acts, and his solo work is sometimes heavy and dirty as trash can be, so no surprise when his and John Hegres Jazzkammer turned into Jazkamer, the Metal act (this spelling is used most of the times from then on, even with pure noise releases). More surprisingly at that time though, was the introduction of members from the Norwegian Death and Black Metal, and that they wanted to join such an underground unpredictable movement as the noise scene. But in retrospect it is understandable, as the trashy, dark, scary parts of Jazkamer and the rest of the noise world has these things in common, as also with the moods they create and the loudness and attitude combined with it. Various metal bands has also been closing the gap between genres, as also has been the case with many hardcore punk bands. Incorporating noise in metal would of course be a natural developement using metal effects pedals to the extreme, and bands probably want to take back some of the loud noisy distorted sound from the noise performers.

Anyway, Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson and Manngard drummer Iver Sandøy teams up with multi-instrumentalist Jørgen Træen (aka Sir Duperman) for this new release in the Jazkamer Metal Music saga, only with small contributions (!) from the founders Marhaug and Hegre, and also from Trond Myklebust. Digesting this makes for an understanding that Metal Music Machine 2 would be less noisy than the first one and more of a metal record. And so it is.

First track, The Metal, is a fast and furious speed trash metal guitar based track of 4+ minutes. It’s a bit pompous without losing energy, but speed varies a bit. The guitar and speed of drums gets me going like a duracell rabbit, this is a fun start. Second track, Bestial Desolation, is just over three minutes. This is more oldschool trash metal from the 80s. heavy drumming, hypnotizing riffs, rhythm changes, faster, more furious. It is almost as it is made in the old days of the 80s when trash was invented. I wouldn’t say as progressive as Metallicas …and justice for all, but it was certainly the very first thing that came to my mind. Not a bad mark, as that was my first introduction to trash, and still is a favourite of mine to this day. I wish it was longer, though.

Noisy distorted really slow guitar riff to start off the third track No Lamb For The Lazy Wolf. It’s 8+ minutes, and other sounds are slowly introduced. No drums during the entire track. It’s dirty, and creates a scary dark landscape, scraping on the surface of your nerves. Make sure the kids are in bed, and you have a cold beer in the fridge to comfort you and cool yourself down with when playing this track. Even better if it’s raining and it’s dark and you are sick having had a hard night out last night. This track will take you to your discomfort zone. The wolf is certainly not getting any lamb, but he is still that creepy guy I would dread meeting on a dark wet night, even around the corner.

Track 4 is almost 17 minutes. Slooooow drums to start with. The track is almost minimalistic to start with. Just a kick, then a snare with a cymbal. Then some feedback. Where is this going? Ah, it’s The Crimson Worm. If a snake is supposed to dance to this, it is wagging extremly slowly. The drums are alone in the rhythm for a while, just adding some gentle guitar feedback. But after a few minutes the doom guitar enters, and later something else is happening. And then that isn’t much either, slowly, slowly it builds itself. The sonic landscape this track creates is very exciting, though. And makes me in a state much happier. Although it’s dark and dirty, it has to have some of those frequencies or harmonies that makes me want to go and finally grab that cold beer. Mmm, that’s nice. The worm doesn’t really go anywhere, but it explores some sound that makes it exciting still. And it’s not over yet.

5th track. Electra Glide in Black. Jazkamer finishes off with again, a classic heavy.The name suggests to me to go and get me a bike, and get moving. Ok, I will. It starts off as a classic road heavy track, but moves after a short while in strange guitar mayhem. BUT then it fades away! What!?! It’s over? No more tracks? Crap, I was just getting into it…the track…

This record is a very good metal record, and follows the first in an excellent way. It’s dirty and dark. It’s fast and fun. It’s slow and scary. It’s got a lot of elements that you rarely find on one album. A bit short at 37 something minutes, but it fits nicely into a vinyl record, so hopefully we’ll see one of those appear as well. It is certainly no noise album, but I am equally fond of metal, so all the better for me. The Metal Music this machine produces has run on my player a few times aready, and it will again. I am certain this record will sell out, as it is a short run subscibtion thing, and being a bit more accessible than most Jazkamer releases, so run and get one if you can even find one.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nødutgangfestivalen next week!

It's time again for the great avant-garde happening, here in Bodø, Norway, Nødutgangfestivalen. Free or very cheap concerts as you can see below, and a very exciting line-up, ranging from legendary krautrockers Faust via electronics from NWW master Colin Potter to noise master John Wiese. Spiced up with free-jazz trio Hosho and classical improv together with concrete mixer, not to mention all the exiting Norwegian and local acts, such as noise-rockers DEL, vocal improviser Lisa Dillan and improv-punks in DimHunGer. No surprises left? I can asure you it will be an event of many new and even surprising happenings you cannot possibly have seen before!

Concerts @ Sinus, Dama Di and Kulturhuset

Torsdag 21 oktober på Sinus
Dører åpner kl 20:00 – Konsertstart kl 21:00. Bilettpris; 100,- NOK.

John Wiese (USA)
Scared Dog
Greg Malcolm (NZ)

Fredag 22 oktober på Dama Di
Kl 16:00. Gratis.

Brakka Soundsystem
Child of Klang + Linn Halvorsrød

Fredag 22 oktober på Sinus
Dører åpner kl 20:00 – Konsertstart kl 21:00. Bilettpris; 100,- NOK.

Lisa Dillan
Faust (GER/UK)

Lørdag 23 oktober Lørdagskafe på Sinus
Kl 12:00-15:00. Gratis.

Artister fra Programmet

Lørdag 23 oktober på Sinus
Dører åpner kl 20:00 – Konsertstart kl 21:00. Bilettpris; 100,- NOK.

Petter O Hanna
Hosho (GER)
Bad Servant (UK)
Capt Credible

Søndag 24 oktober på Kulturhuset lille sal /foajeen
Kl 15:00. Gratis.

jhp/art-Errorist - Impromptu pour Bétonnière et Ensemble
Ralph & Ralph & Ronny - Improv for pauker, elektronikk og tilbehør.

Søndag 24 oktober på Dama Di
Kl 20:00 Gratis.

Camilla Barratt-Due
UN: Colin Potter & Paul Bradley(UK)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Puma – Half Nelson Courtship CD (review)

Label: Rune Grammofon
Catalog#: RCD2098
Format: CD, Album (Available on vinyl)
Country: Norway
Released: May 2010

What is Puma? This young Norwegian trio started out as a jazz trio, and they all studied at jazz conservatories. They also fit in numerous other projects, such as Jaga Jazzist, Bushman’s Revenge and Westerhus recently joined Nils Petter Molværs‘ new trio. As Intro winners (Norwegian award for young jazz muzicians) in 2006 they where also given oppportunities to go on tour with noise artist Lasse Marhaug. In recent years they have been regarded as leading talents of the Norwegian improvisional scene.

Although Half Nelson Courtship is divided into 10 tracks, the album works as a whole, almost a suite that moves into various aspects of the sonic palette Puma wishes to explore. There is a highly experimental feel to it, but in many senses also inspired by 70s progressive bands of the more experimental kind. King Crimson around ’73 is mentioned in the press release, and is not much off the mark; Earthbound comes to my mind on some occasions. But they are of course more freeform, almost at times as free as the most intricate Frith could be. But they also explore and varies a lot between…




























Power tools.

Minor moods.

Wailing guitars.

Gilmour stretch.

KC but no Fripp.

Rhythm. N. Soul.

Symphonic guitar.


Birds, but no birds.

Growls, but no animals.

Sonic fantastic universe.

Subtle noisy strangeness.

Drums structured.

Loud high pitch and waves of wind.

Will I play it again? Yes, I will play it again!


This review is also available in Freq Music Magazine

Jazkamer - Cover by Hair Stylistics CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA021
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: July 2010

From the Pica Disk website:

“Cover by Hair Stylistics is the july edition of Jazkamer‘s ongoing 2010 monthly Compact Disc series. This month’s album finds Hegre and Marhaug joined by Iver Sandøy playing noisecore. Noisecore is a crossover between grindcore and noise music. One could call it improvised grindcore, as its emphasis is on short bursts of blastbeat drumming backed by screaming vocals and heavily distorted guitar. Often the music is improvised on the spot. (…) Cover by Hair Stylistics contains 129 songs in 20 minutes. Because of the Compact Disc-format’s limited index ability the songs are presented as one continious track. Jazkamer also prefers the album to be experienced as a whole, rather than prominence given to individual songs.”

How can we possibly not do that?

Noisecore should contain hard chaotic drums, chaotic vocals and chaotic noisy guitar (and/or bass). No proper guitar riffs, and difficulty to hear musical elements should also be a part of the overall experiense. In such manners, Jazkamer succeeds very much in doing so. As with a lot of noisy stuff, it is also better to enjoy live than any studio recording. As Jazkamer has recorded this fast an furious, with some mixing after, they manage to make it sound quite live-like.

The noisecore recording tradition is also rough, distorted recordings, with difficulty to separate even the instruments at times. The recording of this Jazkamer edition is at times very distorted, both drums and vocals, but the mixing quality makes it easier to separate the individuals and you can hear what they are doing. It makes for a good listen, even so. Maybe even better as this album is quite long for a noisecore release. It is easy to lose focus after a while, but the mix helps, as there are new interesting things happening all the time. Maybe as Jazkamer is not a true noisecore band, but plays on quite a few strings, as we have learned during the monthly series, they also add bits and pieces to this genre (unintentional or not), that helps the untrained listener to stay focused throughout the entire 20 minutes (my player stops at 19:25) and 129 songs(!). Hailed noisecore bands are usually very fast as Anal Fist, or very distorted. Jazkamer is fast at times, but also slower for a noisecoretrack. For me this also creates a more diverse and interesting listen. The last minute comes out quite weird, even.

This review is also available in Freq Music Magazine

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lisa Dillan - Arousal CD/DVD (review)

Label: AIMsoundcity
Format: CD/DVD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: 2010

Lisa Dillan is a vocal improviser originating from the northern parts of Norway. She is a trained and educated jazz singer, but many years ago she moved further away from the jazz, and started exploring the possibilities that lies within improvising with the voice and creating various mouth sounds. When I first watched this tiny woman doing a live performance some years ago, it was a big(!) surprise that she could produce such massive sounds by her sheer voice. Combined with the subtle minimalistic moods and sounds, her playfulness and use of glass and fruit in her performance, it was a pleasant experience. She is an artist with many talents, she has a background from breakdance, and does performances and also teaches in improvising and telemark skiing.

Her second solo album comes a full five years since her debut album, Vocal Improvisations, so it’s been a long wait. Arousal continues in a way her explorations of her own sound universe, and was recorded mostly in the Emanuel Vigeland Museum, Tomba Emmanuelle, wich is one of Oslo’s best kept secrets. The museum website states: “The museum’s main attraction is a dark, barrel-vaulted room, completely covered with fresco paintings. (…) Entering the museum is a unique experience. The impression of the dimly lit frescoes with multitudes of naked figures is reinforced by the unusual and overwhelming acoustics of the room.(…) Vigeland erected the building in 1926, intended as a future museum for his sculptures and paintings, but changed his mind and decided that the museum should also serve as a mausoleum. All the windows were closed and his ashes were to rest in an urn above the entrance door. Influenced by Italian prototypes, he named his building Tomba Emmanuelle.”

In the Arousal booklet Lisa writes that “ the room endings are present, and therefore also new beginnings – the arousal of life itself.” Arousal is a physiological and psychological state of being awake or reactive to stimuli What is also present is the fact of marvellous acoustics with long reverb, which highlights her voice very well.

So, what does the CD sound like? It starts off with Lisa Dillan creating subtle ambience, almost sacred in wich the sound really comes into its own right. She continues over the tracks with wonderful harmonies, or a careful, subtle performance. She also reads her own lyrics in French, which she does a few more times over the CD. Her love or curiosity in the French language, its tone and rhythm is apparent, and although not being a French speaker, I have a notion she is justifying the language, or enhances the very special sounds of the French words. She continues being playful, minimalistic and noisy at times.

All tracks bar one are recorded in one take, and no overdubs or effects are added. Just Lisa Dillan interacting with the microphone and some sounds created by measuring cups, glasses, and a chair scratching the floor (track 3). I also like how she incorporates some folk inspired tunes or sounds. It keeps the modern improviser in connection with her roots, or culture in some way. The DVD enclosed enhances all the impressions created by playing the CD. Six short film or performances shows exactly how she creates some of her unique sounds – headstanding in a flower pot while making strange sounds, or performing with a dummy with an erotic undertone to name a few examples.

All the way through this magnificent release it is apparent that Lisa is doing her own thing and in her own style. She has not only over the years created her own style or soundscapes, she is also still energetic, playful, unafraid, and very much uncompromising. Coming from a jazz education, she is of course trained as an improviser, but she moves away from all of the strict rules jazz musicians sometimes performs by, and she gives a rat’s ass about what people think too, I guess. Who else would create a mouse call? And why not?

This review is also available in Freq Music Magazine

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jazkamer - We Want Epic Drama CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA020
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: June 2010

The June edition of the Jazkamer monthly series, We Want Epic Drama, is the first album with the full metal line-up since the highly acclaimed Metal Music Machine was released. Two drummers, electronics and three guitars promises quite an onslaught. However, that is often the case with Jazkamer, two or more members almost always manages to present an impressive wall of sound, no matter what.

As with the March edition, this album is a full-on production, with lots of drums apparent, though not in a metal doom kind of way you might expect from this line-up, but more free improv full speed ahead noise style. Divided into two tracks, this album is more than 70 minutes long. Both tracks starts off with hard-hitting freestyle drums, and guitar and electronics follow. By the mid/end parts of both tracks the drums have disappeared, and noisy guitars and electronics take turns in being more apparent. But this is beside the point. The interesting, exciting works of this album is how Jazkamer explores every bit of the sonic palette. Maybe less of the more subtle sides, but all kinds of feedback, harsh white noise, pink noise, screeching and wailing guitars, whistling, rumbling, airplanes, cars, just to name but a few I could sense myself.

So, does this six-piece make any difference compared to a smaller line-up? It certainly does. For one thing, the use of guitars makes for an interesting change that I like about this CD. At times you hear metal-sounding guitar riffs in combination with free improv use, all blended nicely in the mix of drums, electronic noise and strange sounds. Both tracks have so many layers and so many sounds that We Want Epic Drama deserves many rounds in the player. I find myself discovering new things every time. As with the March edition("Jazkamer – The Monroe Doctrine"), it also triggers a lot of happy places with me. It is hard, loud, massive, energetic and guarantees excitement for me yet another time.

This review is also available in Freq Music Magazine

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Letter by Tom Løberg out on vimeo

The Letter is Tom Løbergs first short film, made back in 2004. A calleidoscopic story about a solitary man who receivers a letter from ... himself? Sound work by noted noise artist Lasse Marhaug. More information about the film here

The Letter from Tom Løberg on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Jazkamer - Chestnut Thornback Tar CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA018
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: May 2010

The May edition of Jazkamers monthly series starts with an almost twenty minute long drone track. It's very deep dark and with mellow synth sounds to start with, moving about in my headphones, almost without recognising it, the track creeps upon me, moving more, being more intens and distorted. I hear adding layers, adding sounds, but almost not noticing it. I am feeling relaxed by this soothing, meditative track. Hypnotizing me to go to another place, until the end is blissfull of wideranging distorted noise.

Then the album changes to a more experimental focus. Next up is six short tracks, spanning from just under thirty seconds up to almost four minutes, and one last track of almost fourteen minutes. Most of them are experimental, very varied tracks within themselves. Expressions as a simple guitar loop including acoustic noise, playing with synth sounds adding whitenoise, cut and paste techniques, use of pauses within tracks, massive use of cymbals, distorted burploop, fiddling with guitar, (do I hear someone trying to say something?), free drums, aggressive noise, playing with various soundgadgets creating weird noises, playing with drums and more cymbals, high pitch that almost makes the sound dissapear, room recordings…. plenty going on. One track (7) stands out as more happy-noise. It's a massive wall of drums and sounds that have the same feel to it all the way, not changing the sound image throughout the entire track, although a lot of interesting is happening all the time.

All these powerful changes makes “Chestnut Thornback Tar” very interesting and moves me very much. I am thrown from one end of my emotions to another. From the state of being mesmerized, hypnotized, to wanting to dance. In between I am concentrated in deep listening trying to figure out what comes around the next corner, or thrown off my seat while my head explodes and later being lured back trying to re-assembly it.

The album title could be some Japanese gamer reference, indicating that some of the sounds are inspired by gaming activities, certainly some of the sounds appear to be also. Some of the tracktitles, however shows a more philosophical point of view, as with “We need a painting not a frame” or romantic, sentimental as “Yellow, mountain fur peak” (actually the last and more experimental), or as clearly as “Sentimental Journey”. It is not clear to me what is the albums actual focus. It might be showing the range and variety of some of Jazkamers abilities, in wich they clearly succeeds. If it is to entertain, they certainly do. I was never bored.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

New releases from Droning-on Records

Independent Oslo label Droning-on Records announces on the new website a couple of new cassette releases. Firstly the new tape from Layers Of The Onion called Binnorie which consists of layers of droning guitars mixing nicely in with old harps and other assorted acoustic, ambient sounds. It is a live recording taken at Sound Of MU , Oslo, Norway, on the 25th of February 2010. The tape also features lovely folky looking hand-stamped artwork. It's a limited numbered edition of only 30 copies, so you better hurry.

Also coming up is a tape from KOBI - (Title To Be Announced). This is also a live recording from Sound Of MU, Oslo, Norway. Recorded On the 21st of October 2007. No Date Set for this release yet, though.

Coming later in 2010 will be a CD by Layers of the Onion, plus a performance from The Burning Dog Orchestra

Sunday, April 25, 2010

News from the Origami network

The Origami Republika network has been an interactive network for musicians and have for the last twenty years shared music for free through the website. As it is shutting down, Origami Republika is looking for a new web solution. From the website:

" have hosted our online web archive for ten years,
as they close down now, we are looking into more interactive options

origami republika is indeed very active outside this web archive,
and we celebrate our twenty year anniversay with
several new releases, artworks and performances

so do not despair, find us here:
myspace: origamirepublika
twitter: origamiHQ
facebook group "origami republika"
e-mail: origamirepublika :at:
yours, coordinatore (aka boe)"

Still a lot of fun coming from the Origami Republika network though, and to make the wait for a new website shorter, the Trass MP3 releases are still online, co-released and and hostet by Norwegian label Ambolthue. The latest release being the Origami Binarika - Windung Zu Selbst Mit Traum (below).

Two new limited acetate releases also out now, the Origami Boe/Cock E.S.P. "Berlin Wedding" 7" and the Origami Boe/Origami Tacet "Split" 10" (Origamie Boe show from Dresden 2007 plus a drone track with him and Michael Duch including backyard recordings from where Bowie and Iggy lived in Berlin). Order from tchartan -att-

Friday, April 23, 2010

Improvising in Bergen

Next week Bergen (NO) will see two days with various musicians, improvising being the only common aspect of them all. First Bergen Kunsthall will be visited on Tuesday the 27th of April by Will Guthrie (AUS) (left) & Mikko Savela (S), who will present their avantgarde-rock-jazz plus the duo Sainct Laurens (CAN) who by their home-made electronics and acoustic instruments will create feedback and ancient spanking new music.

On Wednesday the 28th Norwegians in Lemur (below) will meet musicians from The N Ensemble (from the N Collective) at Galleri 3,14. Lemur is described as a norwegian all star quartet of composers and improvisers. Combining their work from classic composition, noise, chamber music, free jazz etc - the four instrumentalists of Lemur creates a highly surprising blend of contemporary sound and attitude. While The N Ensemble consists of classically trained chambermusicians, composers and improviser, focusing on merging electro-acoustic, chambermusic and improvisation. For this gig, Lemur and four musicians from The N Ensemble will explore the art of collaboration and create new acoustic music.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

John Cage exibition at HOK - 3rd concert

At Høvikodden Art Center John Cage is being tributed with a big exibition that opened in February and will go on until the 30th of May. The Anarchy of Silence – is the largest exhibition about Cage that has been held since his death in 1992. It is also the first time that an exhibition puts his work into political, artistic and historic context. In addition to his own works, the exhibition features works that he created in collaboration with other artists. Throughout the exhibition period, the commissioned work Studio by Deathprod (Helge Sten) will be on show in the Studio as a permanent sound and light installation. As a finale, Deathprod will hold one of their rare concerts inside this very installation at the last concert day, this Sunday the 25th of April. Also performing on the day is Lemur with Tom Løberg, who will read his Norwegian versions of Cage's Indeterminancy texts. Andrea Neumann will present a reconstruction of Cage's TV piece Water Walk, with a live collage of bathtub splashing, wine bottles and boiling water.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monolithic in Italy

Norwegain extreme noise metal duo Monolithic is doing some gigs in Italy the next few days. Whatch out as the pure complex energy these guys are presenting, will make volcanos nice.

Ashes to Ashes Italy Tour
21.04 Monolithic - Milano (Ita) - Magnolia
22.04 Monolithic - Roma (Ita) - Traffic
23.04 Monolithic - Verona (Ita) - Esposta
24.04 Monolithic - Brescia (Ita) - Latteria Molloy

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vocokesh - Electric Indian Blues LP (Review)

Label: Pure Pop For Now People
Catalog#: Pure 04
Format: LP, Album
Country: Germany
Released: July 2008

I have started reviewing some underground vinyl releases not only Norwegian. My love for the vinyl format will always follow me, and I figured that should count in developing this blog also.

This is my first Vocokesh experience, but will not be the last in account of this release. The LP is beautifully done with a handmade cardboardcover. Limited to 200 copies, there are only a few left at the label.

Side A starts off with a bluesy, untidy, short- just over 3 minutes track. The overall sound is off-tune, with lovely disharmonies between guitar and sitar, which bears very little of typical indian sitar sound.

The next track gives a change of mood and tidyness. No Sitar. Almost 9 minutes, slow blues, harmonies, ambient soundscapes. More spacelike mood, but then it changes mood, almost a very early 70s PF blues rhythm. It is clearly very similar to the chords and bass lines of PF, and this track is one of my favourites on the LP.

The last track before turning the vinyl is more than 10 mins, with lovely guitar sound. They use a bit more use of fuzz and feedback. The track seems more untidy. Halfway it gets more slow bluesy like track two, moving closer to that PF mood, but still more daring use of guitar without loosing it, and without being to prominent and it gives me some chills… as it moves to the end.

Side B starts off with the title track. The sitar is back (electric), slow blues, just over 7 minutes. There are more harmonies, and it is a well built track. Not much happening first, but the eastern indian sound qualifies the name. Good combination of the PF bluesy style and indian moods and harmonies, some organ, lovely track (one of the best also imho).

The next and also last track of the album, is more than 14 minutes. It starts with wind, bass, guitar, quite a long intro. No specific rhythm other than bass. The guitarist is using some stereo echo, which sounds nice. The combination of synth effects and electronics, makes it improv sounding with some jazzy use of drums. Halfway it moves into some blues rythms with some synth, and strange use of effects and guitar. A wonderful bass line-represents the melody, and nice use of the guitar wich feeds here and there without being overwhelming, makes a great finale!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jazkamer - Self Portrait CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA017
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: April 2010

We’ve come to the April edition of Jakamers monthly, and of the previous being quite electronic, "Self Portrait" is the complete opposite. A pure acoustic Jazkamer release must be of the rare kind.

This album consists of three untitled tracks, the two first almost 11 minutes each and the last just over 16 minutes. The first impression of the album makes me think of some kind of metal furniture being pushed around at random, and microphones recording whatever happens in the room. Whatever pieces of equipment they use, it certainly comes out deep and multilayered, and feedback-like, dark ambient sounds are still evident. The first track seems to be highly improvised, making the track not going anywhere, but clarely the performers seem to be exploring the sounds that appear as they “move the instruments” about.

The second track starts out sounding almost exactly the same, but after a while it is clear that we have some rhythm. Rhythm being slow moving, but still it is kind of looping going on, same patterns being repeated over and over again. The third and last track is completely different, as Jazkamer moves to some kind of strings. Again slowly moving patterns creating a track that is very relaxing and soothing. So, a very ambient sounding track completes the release of quiet acoustic noise, if ever there is such a thing. All in all a very ambient record.

Sound sample here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Løver & Tigre re-release

Plastic Strip Press announces a re-release of the Norwegian punk classic Grr... by Løver & Tigre. Løver & Tigre was an Norwegian post-punk outfit that consisted of members from the Norwegian new wave band The Aller Værste! (Sverre Knudsen & Chris Erichsen), the string-swing band Hot Club de Norvége (Jon Larsen, Ivar Brodal, Per Frydenlund & Svein Aarbostad) and Betong Hysteria (Geir "Bulle" Underdal)

The release comes with seven new bonus tracks, new linernotes and unseen photographs. It will be a Digipack CD with 12 page booklet and it will be in stores on the 3th of May 2010. The album was originally released in 1983 on Knudsen own label entitled Plateselskapet Norge. The first pressing of 2000 copies were all handpainted from scratch in a gigantic one day DIY painting session. This obscure record is now regarded as one of Norways finest post-punk releases and one of the strangest combos of musicians that ever has appeared on a record together.

This re-release of Grr... also includes seven tracks from an unknown live recording, made at the Henie Onstad Art Centre in 1983, which features Audun Strype on bass and Nils Økland playing the fiddle.

Lasse Marhaug Japan tour April 2010

Lasse Marhaug starts his Japan tour tomorrow. Here the details:

MarhauGomi [Lasse Marhaug + Pain Jerk]
Maranata/Kelly Churko
Miclodiet/Ito Atsuhiro
Kubota Kazuma/Endo Kazumoto
Ichiraku Madoka
Soup, Tokyo.

Lasse Marhaug/Pika (Afrirampo)
Jojo Hiroshige with 821
Tatsuhiko Matsuura
ALCHEMY NOISE EXPO 2 @ Bears, Osaka.

Lasse Marhaug [solo]
Akira Toyonaga
Takuji Naka
Socrates, Kyoto.

Lasse Marhaug [solo]
At Hall, Oita.

Lasse Marhaug [solo]
Against Extreme Music Festival, Fukuoka.

Merzbow/Hair Stylistics/Marhaug
Maranata/Sayaka Himeno
Lasse Marhaug [solo]
SuperDeluxe, Tokyo.

New album out now:
Lasse Marhaug: The Quiet North [CD]
Second Layer Records

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter egg from Ambolthue

Ambolthue records hands from time to time out a seasonal release. This easter we get one track from Torstein Wjiik as MP3, but make sure to download as it is only available during easter, more spesific until April 4th. Holiday noise from guitar, synth and voice makes the sunny days even sunnier. Available here.

NXP / TheDeadPlayers video

NXP has started a collaboration with videomaker TheDeadPlayers, and creating sounds to a cpouple of short films. Let's hope we'll see some more! The latest here:

And here is the first.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nødutgangfestival 2010 news!

From the festival website:

Artists are booked!


As part of the celebration of the fact that this is the 5th Nødutgang Festival, and by popular demand, we have invited Faust back. They have changed some of the crew, and appears today as even more experimental, improv as well as tight and samspilt while rocker merged by the majority.This year, Faust consists of Jean-Hervé Peron, Zappi Diermaier, James Johnston and Geraldine Swayne.



DEL is a Norwegian drone-space-freak-psychedelic-noise-out-rock band formed in 1996. Kjell Runar "Killer" Jenssen, Per Gisle Galåen, Lasse Marhaug and Fredrik Ness Sevendal.



Bendik is actually Silje Halstensen. She plays on everything from organs to guitars, and uses many types of machines, to create a delicious harmony.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

More news from Ambolthue

Norwegian label Ambolthue announces the following releases:

CDr by O. Melby titled Marsipan.

From the website: "The second CDr is Dag Stiberg (Maranata, Now We Got Members, My Midnight Creeps), and it's titled Monolithic Time. Better dark-jazz is hard to find!

The last CDr is a singles collected release from
Fisk På Disc, and it's titled Fishfingers. This is one of the heavyest release on Ambolthue in my own opinion, and it's good to listen to one or two tracks a day. Strange as only the fishy duo can make it.

Then we have the MP3 release. It's from a new duo called Stegofon (John E. Sandli & Håkon Nordheim), and it's titled
Eldorado Paranormal Activity. Beautiful artwork and very good music. Download for free now!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Torstein Wjiik - Wjiik Let Angreben Af Influenza CD (review)

Label: Synesthetic Recordings / Ambolthue
Catalog#: Syre 021 / Ambolt -90
Format: CD, Album, Limited to 220 copies
Country: Norway
Released: February 2010

Apparently this is the debut CD of Torstein Wjiik, which is really hard to believe when you look at his discography, where you can find lots of MP3 and CDr releases. Wjiik is the alias of Norwegian experimental artist Kjetil Hanssen. Knowing that this young man has been around and producing sound since 2004, some would say it is about time he appeared on the proper CD format. However, this is usually no guarantee of a more proper listening experience.

The title suggests that Wjiik is slightly attacked by influenza, just like Ibsen was described when his health got worse 6 years before his death, and the tracktitles can certainly be a cronology of getting the flu. Firstly the “Gag Reflex” followed by “The Flu Has Come”, “Screamer”, “Headache”, and so on. Some of the titles are also descriptive. When the title is Gag Reflex, you get, yes a recording of someone gagging (I’m guessing the artist himself). And the track “Oslo Tram”, is a recording of trams in Oslo, nothing more. In between these recordings there are wonderful full on feedback and whitenoise recordings. The track “Brekninger & Feedback” is a wonderful combination of a recording of gagging or vomiting and feedback. You can barely hear the person doing it as it is brilliantly hidden in the feedback.

So, is this CD meant for the noise audience or those who like field recordings or just strange recordings? I believe neither. It seems like Wjiik here has made something he wants to present rather than point it to someone specific. A mix of the said gagging, harsh noise, low-fi recordings and outside field-recordings can seem a bit random at first, but to me the cronology and the way the tracks are mixed proved it differently. Listen to this alone on a cold dark, snowy winter night as I did, you’ll make sure to keep warm avoiding the flu come and get you.

Uncompromisingly put together it can easily be labeled as a release someone didn’t quite know what direction to choose, but Wjiik has many talents, as he has proved before in his massive amount of other releases, and here he shows but a few. Is he making fun of us or is it a well put together concept album? For me it will have to be the the latter, and in contrast to Ibsen he is certainly in good health, although the CD finishes off with the title track.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jazkamer - The Monroe Doctrine CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA016
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: March 2010

The Monroe Doctrine” is the March edition of Jazkamers 2010 monthly abum series. This CD is a 30 minute track with full on noise rock free jazz improv beat hysteria. Performers are the regular four piece of Gross, Hegre, Marhaug and Drønen. Beautiful artwork by José De Diego.

To make it short, the album immediately striked me as something heavy but lovely, a full on wow-factor after just a few seconds, it knocked me way back in my seat, pushing enormous amounts of energy inside me. And it didn’t stop until the full half hour came to an end. Reviewing this CD without emotions is impossible, but I’ll try to describe some of what I heard.

It starts off with a massive wall of sound from guitar, drums, electronics, and I’m guessing, keyboards of some sort. The soundwall is heavy and loaded with bass and lower midrange frequencies, but still it is possible to hear the drums and guitar, although they are not in front of the sound image, but well blended in. Nothing is piercing, and you have to really listen carefully to separate out details. I can hear Coltrane, Hendrix, trains, traffic, cricket singing, jet fighters, blistering feedback sounds, although sometimes it is well hidden, almost subtle inside the mass. Jazkamer produces a fantastic amount of energy all the way through, they never slow down, especially the drums are pounding at an enourmous energy, speed and power.

The title made me wonder if it is meant as a political full on statement, as the original doctrine was made to stop colonising any countries of the western hemisphere. Or is it just a full on statement?

The CD is very well produced and mixed by Jørgen Træen, no noise overtakes the drums or guitars and opposite. The sound in my ears is fantastic, and very rarely noise/rock releases give me just as good experience as a live show, but “The Monroe Doctrine” really does. In fact I might have a new favourite hangover repair album. I am sad when it stops on 30 minutes sharp, and I had to go repeat…

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Compact cassette rising

As CD sales are declining and prophecies about the format vanishing completely, other formats as vinyl is of course coming back to peoples minds and shelves. What is more surprising is that the compact cassette has not vanished, but in fact sales of blank tapes are rising, and some labels release more and more cassettes. Some new labels are solely specializing in releasing cassettes, and here in Norway Tape Rape Records, a sublabel to Ambolthue, and Kassettkultur has been delivering high quality releases of the magnetic tape in recent years. To celebrate one of the most released artist in Norway the last years, certainly on cassette also by the way, Tape Rape just released Lasse Marhaug "Camellia Sinensis", a four tape box including a 64 page illustrated book. Only limited to 100 copies, this beauty is bound to go fast. Marhaug himself owned the TWR tapes label and has been dedicated to still release his works on the said format.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jazkamer - Musica Non Grata CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA015
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: Feb 2010

From the website comes this information: "The February edition of Jazkamer's 2010 monthly CD-series. "Musica Non Grata" is a feedback-fest. Armed with guitars and analogue synths and an arsenal of amps, Hegre, Gross and Marhaug locked themselves into Duper Studios in Bergen, exploring how feedback-timbre sounds like when recorded on an analogue 24 track 2" tape-machine. The three long tracks that makes "Musica Non Grata" are slow-moving long-form meditations on feedback that will be bliss for a select few and hell for most listeners. February is not an easy month . CD in digipak cover. Photos by Martín Escalante."

Musica Non Grata is the second release in Jazkamers 2010 monthly series, and the CD has three long tracks. To make it clear and save you wasting time reading further: this is a study in feedback! Those who are still reading might like to know that this full length CD from the trio again being Marhaug, Hegre & Gross, is very much different from last months Solitary Nail. When the latter was one 30 minute track of cut and paste, Musica Non Grata is slowly moving, changing over long periods of time, making the change barely noticable.

The first track “Honda Sound Works” is more than 30 minutes of high pitch guitar, synth and electronic feedback. By insanly slowly altering the sounds, they make the track go on for the full 30+ minutes, and making it sound right. It is not very wide ranging, and the sound stays for most of the trak up in the high frequency range, making it challenging to follow all the way.

Next up is the title track, starting off where the first finished, but here the track is coloured by lower frequency sounds making it very much “easier listening”. Sometimes a mid ranging squeal is mixed in the background. It is however very industrial sounding, and sounds of circular saw and various powertools appear, although I think none of them were ever used.

Last track “Feedback Fans” is a more evident guitar based track, although I suspect other sound sources are used. By pounding, hitting or touching the guitar in some way, a slow rhythm appears from time to time, making the track vary more. The second half of the track is also less full on, and the study of feedback becoms even more evident.

So, was February an easy month? It certainly wasn't bright, but Musica Non Grata has made more turns than normal and made my life brighter and easier in comparison. Musica Non Grata is also worth a try if you think the world of feedback needs further explorations.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Independent record store day

Good, independent, alternative and experimental quality music need similar good, independent, alternative and experimental distribution channels. Henie Onstad Art Center, highlight this, to celebrate the three most influential independent record stores in Norway. Sunday the 7th of February there will be concerts with Montée, Pow Pow, Alfabulator, and the best opportunities to buy some quality music on vinyl and cd.

Big Dipper, Tiger and Looop are three Norwegian stores as uncompromisingly has promoted alternative, experimental quality music for years. The three stores are and have been a vital channel of distribution and source of income for young artists and record companies in Norway, that does not usually get shelf space and radio play. These three independent record stores are a focal point and meeting place for music enthusiasts, and make an unprecedented effort to spread quality music, serve up a musical diversity and a very interesting music scene.

In order to highlight the work of independent record stores are doing, have Henie Onstad Art Center asked Big Dipper, Tiger and Looop choose themselves their own band to play concerts on Høvikodden on the 7th of February. The audience will recieve a full day of concerts, vinyl and CD sales. Big Dipper selected band Montée who in 2009released their debut album, "Isle of Now" to critical acclaim.

Tiger have chosen the instrumental band Pow Pow as with their debut album, "Leaving Las Palmas" in 2007 made many headlines and was a welcome new addition to the Norwegian post-rock. The band plays a kind of instrumental rock that is reminiscent of Tangerine Dream and Jean Michael Jarre who meets CAN in Tago Mago mode.

Looop has put together the band Alfabulator especially to this event, consisting of Per Gisle Galåen, Kai Mikalsen, Martin Powell and Petter Flaten Eilertsen.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Supporting Haiti

All over the country artists wants to support the victims of the disaster in Haiti, by participating in concerts. So also here in Bodø. The support concert is arranged by Parkenfestivalen, and it will be on this Thursday, the 4th of February @ Sinus. Tickets are NOK 200,- , and all ticket sales will go directly to Prosjekt Haiti. So anyone close enough to be there, be there! Line-up is: Bobleplast, FipPellektormonic, Kråkesølv, Lady Midday, HumdinGer and Æ. More info (in Norwegian) here.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lasse Marhaug & John Wiese US west coast tour

This tuesday Norwegian noise master Lasse Marhaug meets up with John Wiese in LA to start a short west coast tour. A new duo album "Country & Western" will be available at the gigs. The announced dates are as follows:

KXLU 88.9FM at Midnight
Los Angeles, CA

w/ Gerritt Wittmer
The Lab (23Five Presents)
San Francisco, CA

w/ Ryan Jencks, Michael Gendreau
Oakland, CA

w/ Dried Up Corpse, Physical Demon
The Black Lodge
Seattle, WA

w/ Sex Negatives, The Rita
Hotel Gallery
Vancouver, CANADA

w/ Zbigniew Karkowski, Daniel Menche
Reed College
Portland, OR

w/ Seven Depressions, Joe & Joe
The Smell
Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Metal Merchants Festival this weekend

Metal Merchants Festival kicks off on this friday the 29th @ John Dee, Oslo. They promise a weekend filled with metal, screams and pounding drums. Starting off in 2009, they wanted to bring back heavy metal heroes from the past, heavy metal hopes for the future, and heavy metal maniacs of all ages. Line up:







More details on the festival website.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Metronomicon Audio release party

For those around or near Oslo, make sure to find your way round to Metronomicon Audio releaseparty on this Thursday the 28th of January @ John Dee: METRONOMICON AUDIO 4.0: Center of the Universe - Magnus Moriarty™ Pilemil – Hanny – Ergo - CyranoArmageddon Koppen - Siv Sperati, Science & Spheres.
From the Metronomicon Audio website:
Metronomicon Audio is a little CD-R and CD label based in Oslo (Norway) that has chosen to go straight against the massive commercialism, double standards, vanity and unserious behaviour of the music industry.

Metronomicon Audio has focused on the fredom to make the music we like, and our never-resting design and typography crew Yokoland has done the very same in visual terms.

Metronomicon Audio is a community, with a flat structure where the artists have full control of their own music and artwork. We arrange concerts and happenings nearly all the the time, and every year we arrange the event By;Alarm, which is a mockery of all the grammy’s and awards that are to be won in the dirty, terrible, ridiculous and malicious business of music.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lasse Marhaug celebrates Utech Records

From the Utech website:

"To mark Utech Records' five-year anniversary Lasse Marhaug recorded a piece of music titled Beauty Without Mercy. The mad, mad, mad Justin Bartlett illustrated a portrait of Marhaug and his internal twin for the cover. Endless thanks to both. To be listened to on proper speakers due to the prominent low frequencies.

Beauty Without Mercy is exclusive here and free with any order of UTECH releases."

Sound Art by Linn Halvorsrød

If you are in Trondheim you can for another week experience the sound art exhibition Soundtrack Zero 1 2 3 4ever, by Linn Halvorsrød in the Black Box at the Trøndelag Center for Contempory Art. It started on the 15th of January and is due to finish in the 31st. The sounds consists of 20 different loops of various lengths and with different lengths of silence between the repeat, so it all adds up to a composition in eternal change. The image shows the setup.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Jazkamer - Solitary Nail CD (review)

Label: Pica Disk
Catalog#: PICA014
Format: CD, Album
Country: Norway
Released: Jan 2010

This release is the first in the Jazkamer 2010 Monthly Series. A card following the CD states: “One new Jazkamer album on Pica Disk every month of 2010. One year of music and anti-music.”

Perfomed by the two founders and regular members Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre, plus Jean-Philippe Gross, who also edited and mixed this CD very interestingly.

Solitary Nail is one 30 minute track, although it feels like many tracks. It is a cut and paste of multifrequent parts combined with more one-dimensional sounds. Recordings range from guitar feedback explorations and movement of gadgets wired up with contact-microphone and very low (also volume) bass frequencies to massive full on distortion and harsh noise. At around 13:30 though, the track turns around to explore a more simple tone or feedback of very high pitch. This high pitch varies a lot, but still up there and goes on for the next ten minutes. For me this was the Solitary Nail as it went hard right inside my skull and stayed there for the full ten minutes this part of the track lasted. Be careful using earphones! After this the track moves back to exploring a more easy listening harsh wider-ranging freguencies and definetly multilayered sound.

When the monthly series was announced in November last year, Jazkamer promised to “…keep it exciting all the way, so in keeping with Jazkamer’s eclectic tradition of making very different sounding records, each monthly album will cover the wide (non)musical range Jazkamer has become known for…” With this release they have set the pace, so to speak, as it proves to be, within only 30 minutes, very diverse. It is both multilayered and one-dimensional, not to mention challenging at times.

So, for me Soiltary Nail was both nice and very disturbing at times. An experience. And I had to listen again. To experience it. Again.