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Jo Berger Myhre — Unheimlich Manoeuvre
(RareNoise RNR131, 2021, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-04-10

Unheimlich Manoeuvre Cover art

Unheimlich Manoeuvre is the debut of Norwegian bassist Jo Berger Myhre as a solo artist. Most of his credits look to be in the general field of jazz, and while it could be said that jazz underlies the music here, he ranges pretty far away from any recognizable genre. He’s credited with upright bass, electric bass, effects, drum machine, and various synthesizers; a few guests join him on acoustic guitar, organ, piano, synth, and percussion here and there, though the music is on the whole quite sparse. Rarely will you hear more than one or two instruments at a time, though the electronic treatments do fill out the sound in an expansive way. There’s an air of stillness and anticipation about the music that might frustrate listeners in search of a more active experience, though the depth of detail in the soundscapes rewards close attention. Only occasionally does a melody appear, and even then it’s presented in a very unconventional way. “Smallest Things, Part 1” has a droning background that continually mutates while bass and piano play a wandering melody in unison; a hand drum punctuates the sound without suggesting a tempo. “Aviary” is a little like a piano piece by Satie, with a subtle bass part and some kind of rhythmic sound in the mix - I can’t really tell what it is. The piece builds up a little, as if it might want to be a post-rock anthem, but always pulls back from getting too blatant about its parts, and the continual presence of odd, mangled noises keeps it unsettled and a little off-kilter. Other tracks feature more digital manipulation, with stuttering drones and tomes that are interrupted in their flow. Myhre has a distinctive vision for this album, and fans of electronically enhanced or modified jazz should find a lot of interest here.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Jo Berger Myhre

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