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