Monday, June 1, 2015

Jaga Jazzist "Starfire"

Country: Norway
LabelNinja Tune
FormatCD, vinyl, digital
Release dateJune 1, 2015
  1. Starfire - 8:47
  2. Big City Music - 14:07
  3. Shinkansen - 7:42
  4. Oban - 12:41
  5. Prungen - 6:35
Marcus Forsgren: Electric guitar and fx
Andreas Mjøs: Vibraphone, guitar, Korg MS10 and percussion
Martin Horntveth: Drums
Lars Horntveth : Guitars, clarinets, saxophones, keys and lap steel guitar
Line Horntveth : Tuba, flute, percussion, glockenspiel and vocals
Even Ormestad: Bass and keyboards
Erik Johannessen: Trombone, percussion and vocals
Øystein Moen: Synthesizers and piano
Leon Dewan - Swarmatron on "Shinkansen"

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.
Add in a guest like Leon Dewan, who plays his own Swarmatron on "Shinkansen" and Lars’ increasing use of a Pocket Piano synth as a tool for composition and you get the basis of a more hard-edged, electronic sound, perfectly melded with live musicianship.
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. 


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