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Panzerpappa & Djønne with Guests — Skjeringspunkt
(Bandcamp no#, 2024, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-05-03

Skjeringspunkt Cover art

One of the more interesting bands to come out of Norway since the turn of the century is Panzerpappa, a five-piece explosion of creativity operating in the rock / jazz / avant-garde / RIO territory, and from 2000 onward to 2019 producing one brilliant album after another culminating in Summarisk Suite. Then something happened, and for the next four years all the band released were Excercises in Style (Volume 1 and 2) in 2021, and then in 2023 Excercises on Stream, certainly interesting, but hardly the band at their full horsepower. That all seems to have changed with the band’s latest live offering, Skjeringspunkt, which we review here. To be fair, for this live session the band has brought in diatonic accordionist Rannveig Djønne as a featured guest, as well as Ola Mile Bruland on euphonium, Silje Hveem Lofthus on flute, and vocalist Veronika Hørven Jensen, the latter three being members of Mythopoeic Mind, a side project of Panzerpappa saxophonist / keyboardist Steinar Børve and drummer Trond Gjellum. The remaining members of Panzerpappa are the same as on Summarisk Suite: bassist Anders K. Krabberød, guitarist Jarle Storløkken, and keyboardist Torgeir Wergeland Sørbye. Djønne’s accordion really makes a big difference here compared to what the band has done before, but the flute and euphonium (similar range as a tuba) have a big hand in the change as well, the result is at once stunning and beautiful, playful and intensely melodic, a mix of rock, folk, progressive and chamber idioms that will play on in the listener’s head long after the music has stopped. With all of the extra instrumentation as well as the progressive leanings of the core quintet, it’s almost as if the listener is hearing the inner workings of a small but powerfully effective orchestra. The mood can shift from manic to pastoral, one of the finest examples of the latter is certainly “Stegagjelet,” a stirring eruption of melodic bliss that cuts through everything. “Vintervake” is one of the jazzier tunes among the fourteen, and also the first appearance of Veronika‘s vocals on what up to this midpoint had seemed like a primarily instrumental album — and for the most part it is, but there are more vocals to come in the last half. The band has dedicated this album to the memory of the late Lars Hollmer (1948-2008), who did so much to bring the accordion into the sphere of progressive and chamber rock with his bands Samla Mammas Manna, Von Zamla, Accordion Tribe, and others.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Panzerpappa, Mythopoeic Mind, Electrond (Trond Gjellum)

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