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Jaga Jazzist | A Living Room Hush (WEA)
Gosh we don't get a lot of Norwegian jazz/rock/experimental music for review. Is this task some kind of penance? Some of these tracks remind me of those speed/cocaine fuelled frenetic live jams of a 1970s Miles Davis group. Music some of its creators now question. The opening track Animal Chin and later Midget were undigested and indigestible jumbles of sound that hit me like a merciless avalanche. Imagine placing one of those particularly cerebral early Weather Report albums in the CD player and playing it with the search button depressed. Is Norwegian life so lacking in stimulation that people resort to this? And what nonsense titles. Even several slower tracks have something about them that seems to make for frenetic living, make for that feeling like you've had way too much ginseng and consequently you have all this energy that you can neither store nor spend usefully. Track 9 is called Lithuania and was the first moment that I felt like I had left a lonely, alien, Norwegian forest of the mind and met up with warm friendly Scandinavians to enjoy warm musical themes made of warm chords straight from the heart. The final number, Cinematic, leaves the jazz aside and explores the layering of random radio and TV noise, electric and human, whilst a simple repeated theme builds to dramatic effect. This piece also ultimately disappointed in that it lead nowhere when we really started to sit up for the promised climax.

Stephen Ridley
June-July 2001