Exposé Online banner

Jaga Jazzist — What We Must / Spydeberg Sessions
(Ninja Tune ZEN103, 2005, 2CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01

What We Must / Spydeberg Sessions Cover artThis Norwegian band has been refining their particular brand of jazz (if that’s what you want to call it) for nearly ten years now, and while some things remain the same from their beginnings, others have progressed. They still play a music unmistakably rooted in jazz, though with electronic elements added, mallet instruments provide sonic variety, and guitar functions often as a melodic instrument mixed in with the horns. What We Must starts out with a short ramp up to a wall of sound, with a mass of keyboard and guitar backing a melody in the horns, with an insistent rhythm in the drums. When the backing drops out, we get the melody relatively unadorned, and it has a slight bossa nova feeling to it, showing what a difference an arrangement can make. The track ends with a bit of meditative distorted electric guitar. One thing this band is very good at is building intensity slowly over the course of several minutes – I’m reminded of Godspeed You Black Emperor (insert ! after random word) only with a jazz flavor. I find the combination of horns with pulsing marimbas and quirky guitar noises really fascinating. This is not a band prone to flashy solos, more a unit that works out interesting arrangements and textures. The Spydeberg Sessions is a short CD with demo versions (recorded “live in the same room and mixing on the go”) of four of the tracks from What We Must. The great qualities of the tunes are there, though with less of the studio sheen, and a little more whimsy. “Stardust Hotel” has some great goofball synth work on it that didn’t make the final cut, but is wonderful in its own way. This band should be making some inroads with the post-rock crowd as well as jazz buffs who aren’t stuck back in bebop.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Jaga Jazzist

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jean-Philippe Goude - De Anima – Jean-Philippe Goude may be best remembered for his tenure with Richard Pinhas and Heldon, as a one time member of Weidorje, or for his excellent electronic oriented solo album Drones from the early...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues