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Jaga Jazzist
Catalogue Number
Release Date
August 7, 2020

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Jaga Jazzist have gone back to basics on their new LP Pyramid … well, as back to basics as an eight-piece instrumental prog-jazz ensemble can go. Eschewing the studio tinkering which characterised their previous LP Starfire (2015), Jaga Jazzist wrote and recorded the four lengthy opuses of Pyramid in a fortnight. This approach has helped them to make a more immediate and driven record, one that combines their typical sonic adventurousness with some of the most potent grooves of any Jaga Jazzist LP.

The spontaneous approach to writing is most apparent in the work of Pyramid’s rhythm section. ‘The Shrine’ is named after Fela Kuti’s legendary venue in Lagos, and the track certainly lives up to this association with some limber, Tony Allen-inspired drumming. ‘Apex’ has a cosmic disco flavour which channels Jaga Jazzist’s former remixer Todd Terje, ‘Spiral Era’s nimble lilt combines both half- and double-time, and there is an urgent stomp which underpins the second half of epic opener ‘Tomita’.

Atop these polyrhythms, the other members of Jaga Jazzist show themselves once more to be instrumentalists of the highest order. There is certainly plenty of Kuti’s legendary Africa 70 to the aforementioned ‘The Shrine’, but this track is also played with the panache and thrust of fellow post-jazz crews The Comet Is Coming and The Physics House Band. One also detects the influences of both library music, space rock and Plaid on ‘Spiral Era’ and ‘Tomita’, tracks which also balance technical pizzazz with the deft compositions of bandleader Lars Horntveth.

Norwegians Jaga Jazzist channel post-rock, jazz, prog, disco, Afrobeat and many other styles to paint new sonic landscapes on their latest full-length Pyramid.

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Jaga Jazzist

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