Rating: 7.5/ A
Format: Vinyl (2 x 180g at 33 1/3 rpm)
- Lars Horntveth - Clarinet, Flute, Guitar, Piano, Clarinet (Bass), Keyboards, Programming, Sax (Baritone), Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), Lap Steel Guitar
- Martin Horntveth - Percussion, Drums, Programming, Bells, Psaltery, Drum Machine, Temple - Blocks, Marxophone, Mandolin Harp
- Mathias Eick - Piano, Trumpet, French Horn, Keyboards, Bass (Upright)
- Line Horntveth - Flute, Percussion, Tuba, Glockenspiel, Vocals
- Erik Johannessen - Trombone, Marxophone
- Andreas Mjos - Guitar, Percussion, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Vibraphone
- Øystein Moen - Organ, Synthesizer, Percussion, Piano
- Even Ormestad - Bass, Percussion, Glockenspiel, Keyboards
- Stian Westerhus - Percussion, Guitar (Electric), Harp, Guitar (12 String), Effects, Guitar (Baritone)
- All music written by Lars Horntveth
- All music arranged by Jaga Jazzist and Jørgen Træen
- Produced by Jørgen Træen and Jaga Jazzist
- Recorded by Jørgen Træen in Cabin Recorders and Wallpaper, Oslo, December 2008
- Assistant Engineering by Even Ormestad
- Mixed by John McEntire in Soma Studios, April/May 2009
- Additional Mixing by Mike Hartung and Chris Sansom in Propeller Music Division, August 2009
- Mastered by Chris Sansom in Propeller Mastering, August 2009
- Design by Yokoland
- Photography By – Morten Spaberg
There's fusion and then there is Fusion. Although the former is usually found in the company of jazz and rock; the latter is very rarely encountered or accomplished in music. Norwegian multi-talented nonet Jaga Jazzist tends to fall in the second clan. Having just played the 'Festival International de Jazz de Montréal' last July, the band still on the heels of their fifth album One-Armed Bandit,are at the top of their game.
Inside there is a simple album-sized shiny insert sporting the 'slot' symbols on one side and numerous credits on black background on the flip side.
The LP's are housed in quality black paper sleeves with 'angled-cropped' corners, there is no protective liner so care must be taken not to scratch the surfaces during insertion. The labels feature the grapes, bell an orange symbols respectively on my copy while side D features 'KA-CHING' written in yellow on black The vinyl was flat, shiny and black with nice groove modulations for the eyes. The 'groove width spread' is approx. 3 1/4 inches for side A and 3 1/8 inches for side B and C. D has no music content; instead it is visually quite special with the words 'BLAM', 'CRASH!', 'KA-CHING' and FWEEEEEE' inscribe across the vinyl. At no more than 20 minutes of music per side and 33 1/3 rpm, it should not present any problem for bandwidth and a medium cutting level. That said, spreading the ten tracks on all four sides instead of three would have been a wiser choice in sonic terms of course.
Flipping to side B, there is a tiny pressing circular spot on track one. Also it seems cut just a bit lower. "Toccata" opens with an intro worthy of Steve Reich's groundbreaking pieces Drumming / Music for Mallet Instruments ...(Deutsche Grammophon) from 1974 and Music for 18 Musicians (ECM) from 1978. And like the Master of Minimalism himself, Jaga Jazzist juxtaposes organ with piano with marinba in a 6/4 meter heading towards another Bond-esque theme, this time recalling moments from John Barry's 1967 soundtrack of You Only Live Twice (United Artist). In a nutshell, think Philip Glass' 1983 The Photographer (CBS) meets brassy big band meets John Barry meets Reich - blended in one superb hook. The sound keeps getting better, cleaner and breathier. Best track up to now.
Lastly, a comparison between the CD and LP versions revealed the former to gain a bit in the lower registers regarding weight while the latter easily came out on top in the treble airiness, with lesser compression and congestion in the oftentimes dense mix. The supplementary track combined with the excellent pressing quality and vastly superior artistic design make the vinyl LP the natural choice.