Jaga Jazzist

Starfire

Written by: RD on 26/11/2015 09:53:15

Over its 20 years of existence, the Norwegian band Jaga Jazzist has explored and mixed several styles: From the electro-jazz we encounter in the band's early records to the progressive and orchestral oriented previous two albums, the Norwegian musicians have shown their skills in creating a unique sound of Scandinavian jazz. The band’s latest release, "Starfire", is their first studio record since the very successful "One-Armed Bandit" was released in 2010. In between, they recorded a live album with the Britten Sinfonia Orchestra which enabled the band to reinterpret its classic tunes while exploring the symphonic aspect of the compositions. With such a diverse musical background, the question that remained in 2015 was which direction the band would take for their new album "Starfire"?

With its clever package that makes psychedelic stars twinkle, its very modern design and a tracklist including only five songs, the artwork of "Starfire" already reveals the path Jaga Jazzist has chosen for this album. One of the remarkable features of "Starfire" is the return of synths and electronic elements that the band had abandoned on their previous albums. The modern psychedelic aspect is present from the start of the record with its mysterious mood, but instead of going back to the short electronica pieces of its earlier period, Jaga Jazzist pushes the progressive aspect of its music even further. The compositions take time to develop and to tell stories only via instruments. The enigmatic atmosphere of the eponymous introductory track builds tension before exploding in a battle of synthesizers and drums. “Big City Music” perfectly evokes the idea of an urban life full of discoveries, but the peak of Starfire is the fourth track “Oban”. With its staccato rhythms, the band builds expectations just before releasing all its power in a melodic phrase where electronic, electric and acoustics instruments create an overwhelming feeling of wonder altogether. Even though the music has complex arrangements, orchestrations and rhythms, the quality of Jaga Jazzist is in the way they compose memorable tunes which make the record very accessible and places it within the tradition of the best progressive bands.

"Starfire" proves that Jaga Jazzist is still one the most interesting bands of the contemporary Norwegian scene. It is in many ways an intense record that manages to remain cohesive while blending a lot of different influences. From electronic to progressive rock or post-rock and jazz, the Norwegian band has created a unique sound and keeps on reinventing itself with success.

9

Download: Oban, Starfire
For The Fans Of: Steven Wilson, King Crimson, Radiohead
Listen: facebook.com/JagaJazzist

Release date: 01.06.2015
Ninja Tune

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