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Datadyr — Woolgathering
(Karisma Is It Jazz KAR238, 2022, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-09-18

Woolgathering Cover art

Please pardon me a moment for a rant. As a music nerd and as an artist myself, I really dislike when the people who make music are not given proper credit. This includes when the music is distributed digitally. In other words, list the musicians, engineers, producers, photographers, and visual artists on the Bandcamp page! Case in point: Datadyr. It takes a visit to Discogs.com to determine that this Bergen band consists of Øystein Høynes (bass), Amund Nordstrøm (drums), and Odd Erlend Mikkelsen (guitar), and on their debut album Woolgathering, Kjetil Møster (saxophone) and Mathias Marstrander (pedal steel guitar) also appear. Maybe in the greater scheme of things, this doesn’t matter much, but I like to know who the people are behind the music. Especially when it’s as good as Datadyr. This guitar trio is firmly in the jazz tradition as far as their treatment of composition and improvisation, but Mikkelsen has a fondness for distorted tones that lends a rock edge to the music, and there are subtle infusions of blues and country in the melodies. We’ve encountered his playing previously as a member of Kryptograf, but this is a very different animal. Høynes plays upright bass, which lends a distinctive flavor to the arrangements that distinguishes them from what we think of as fusion, especially when paired with Nordstrøm’s drumming, which has very few rock inflections. And while there’s a free-flowing looseness to all the tunes, they never veer into out-and-out free jazz. The two tracks featuring Møster are especially enjoyable, with the sax providing a nice contrast to the guitar. Woolgathering is a refreshing example of guitar-led jazz, and worth checking out for anyone interested in guitarists who don’t sound like a hundred other players. Note that there’s a further EP of material from the Woolgathering sessions available, called Keymaster, and its four tracks were certainly not excluded for lack of quality.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Kjetil Møster, Datadyr

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