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JAGA JAZZIST

Jaga Jazzist

The Stix - 20th Anniversary Edition

    "The Stix" combines the digital-dancefloor-jazz-jiggery-pokery of their debut with the energy and exuberance of their live shows. As well as the gentle flowing loose avant-jazz grooves of previous tracks, "The Stix" includes much more upbeat tracks that take 70s jazz-fusion and time changing jazz-rock as a starting point and add modern production techniques to create fresh new sounds.

    TRACK LISTING

    Side A
    Kitty Wu
    Day
    Another Day
    Side B
    Suomi Finland
    Aerial Bright Dark Round
    Side C
    Toxic Dart
    I Could Have Killed Him In The Sauna
    Doppelganger
    Side D
    Reminders
    The Stix 

    Jaga Jazzist

    Pyramid Remix

      Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' displayed a wonderful mix of soaring electronics and jagged avant jazz, and their latest eandeavour sees a number of shining lights in today's electronic music landscape pull out the stems for a brilliantly diverse and wonderfully exploratory set of remixes. 

      Petter Eldh's remix of 'The Shrine' sees the main refrain chopped up and scattered liberally among a few shards of industrial noises and shimmering synth swells, kicking things off in wonderful fashion before the pulsing dystopian glimmer of the OKIOK rework of the same piece. It seems odd to have two remixes of the same piece following each-other but in this instance they're so wildly different that you can hardly even tell they're from the same stock. 

      Lindstrom' & Prins Thomas' rework of 'Apex' is one of the top cuts for me, forging a perfect mixture of the former's airy euphoric electronica, and the latter's laid-back house into a by-the-pool groover that continues to grow organically into a not inconsiderable near-12-minute anthem. 

      Prins makes an appearance again later on with the snappy tribal funk of 'Spiral Era', before the set closes out with André Bratten's woozy saturated ambient rework of the wonderful 'Tomita'. 

      A worthy and wonderfully varied collection of home listening house, or cosmic jazz for a VERY chilled dancefloor. 




      TRACK LISTING

      A1. The Shrine (Petter Eldh Remix)
      A2. The Shrine (OKIOK Remix)
      B1. Tomita (Paul Bender Remix)
      B2. Apex (Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas Remix)
      C1. The Shrine (Ian Chang Remix)
      C2. Tomita (OKR Of Once And Future Band Remix)
      D1. Spiral Era (Prins Thomas Remix)
      D2. Tomita (André Bratten Remix)

      Jaga Jazzist

      Pyramid

        Jaga Jazzist return with new album “Pyramid”, where the legendary Norwegian eight-piece takes a deep dive into post-rock, jazz and psychedelia influences. It’s their first album since 2015’s “Starfire”, their ninth album in a career now spanning four decades, but it marks the group’s debut on Brainfeeder, the LA-based imprint curated by Flying Lotus. On “Pyramid”, Jaga Jazzist have crafted a suitably cosmic sound to match their new label home, all the while nodding to forebears spanning from 80s jazz band Out To Lunch and Norwegian synth guru Ståle Storløkken, to contemporaries Tame Impala, Todd Terje and Jon Hopkins. Each of the album’s four longform entries evolves over carefully plotted movements, the tracks’ technicolour threads dreamily unspooling.

        The band, led by Lars Horntveth and his compositions, took a direct approach to the creation of “Pyramid”. Whereas “Starfire” saw them take the idea of a traditional studio record to extremity, with different members dipping in and out of the booth to write, record and experiment over two years, the process behind “Pyramid” was almost the polar opposite: it took just two weeks. Both records were driven by the same curious, experimental spirit, but the processes were very different. Retreating to a secluded woodland studio in neighbouring Sweden, they bunkered into the studio for 12 hour days. “The most important thing is that we didn’t want to over-analyze every musical idea” says co-founder and drummer Martin Horntveth. “We wanted to follow the first and original idea and keep the freshness.” For a band which has never settled on any one sound or style, the continuity lies in their constant willingness to evolve, experiment and improvise.

        “Pyramid” is Jaga Jazzist’s first self-produced album (most of their records being produced by close collaborator Jørgen Træen) and it meant a change in the way they operate. On the one hand, there were lots of different voices jostling to be heard. On the other, they didn’t have an independent figure to make a call on whether something was a good idea. “It was hard but felt natural to do ourselves, as five of us are producers and make records for a living,” Martin says. The result is an album that feels more collaborative than ever.

        Whilst they wouldn’t describe “Pyramid” as a concept album, the band see the track titles as a conceptual starting point from which the listener can construct whatever story flows out of the songs. The album title refers to the building blocks which make up a pyramid, and how each of the four tracks – and their constituent parts – fit together. ‘Tomita’ is a nod to Japanese composer and synth player Isao Tomita, and ‘The Shrine’ alludes to Fela Kuti’s legendary Lagos venue. Lars says: “I felt that this album is a small symphony, each part containing its own rooms to explore.” 

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Tomita
        2. Spiral Era
        3. The Shrine
        4. Apex

        Jaga Jazzist

        Starfire

          In December 2012, Jaga’s main songwriter, Lars Horntveth, left Norway and moved to Los Angeles. There, on the other side of the world, inspired by the space around him, the size of the sky above him, the endless light flashing past as he drove round the city at night, he began composing the new suite of works which would become 'Starfire'. Periodically he was joined by other members of the 8-piece band who would lay down their contributions in his apartment / studio before returning home to Norway. When the basics of the album were in place, he went back to Oslo to finish the record in the professional studios that the band had built and furnished over the years.

          The result is a revelation. After the more heavily scored work of 'One Armed Bandit' and 'Live' with the Britten Sinfonia, 'Starfire' moves to a more experimental studio-led approach - "The idea was that we thought about the songs as both the original song and a remix in one" - morphing each song into a variety of sonic directions. With an increase in the use of electronics and the guitar work of Marcus Forsgren given new prominence, it’s probably the least straightforwardly “jazz” of their records. Instead, all the elements which have made them such an important band - the way their technical chops combine with the kind of mutual sympathy which comes from growing up together - are here melded into an utterly unique sound on what could turn out to be the group’s crowning achievement.

          'Starfire' is a beautiful, visceral, utterly exhilarating piece of work that keeps spiralling up and away, structurally complex, musically rigorous, but without ever losing touch with a certain earthy sensuality and human sympathy. It could just be Jaga's masterpiece.



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