Friday, February 20, 2009

by:Larm Thursday 19th - uncut version

It seems by:Larm news' proof reader didn't see eye to eye with me, and cut pieces from some of my reviews that he may have regarded redundant, but that I consider important in getting my view of the music across. Since the paper was printet last night, I see little problem in me posting the original (more or less, I had to rewrite parts of one from memory) reviews on this blog in order to save some face.

REVOLVER! - Mono, Thursday Feb. 19. 18:00

Since much noise and improvisation is based on the physical aspects of sounds rather than musical patterns that more easily appeal to the mind, the music often works better in live settings, where the physicality of the sounds comes more to the fore, than on record. That being said the duo REVOLVER! reveal themselves as no ordinary noise makers. Sure, guitarist Kim Johanessen scratches and pulls the guitar strings in ways that create a wide variety of sounds and noises, though at times it seemed a bit forced. Maybe that is a bit unfair because often enough the sounds he did get out of his instrument were quite riveting. Drummer Fredrik Kirkevold has great chops, variation and drive, not unlike renowned Norwegian jazz and impro drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, and may be a star in the making. When the duo lock together, they create purposeful grooves, at times both jazzy and heavy, and seeing as they are not afraid to slow things down, their music has great range and possibilities.

Bellman - Christianiasalen, Thursday Feb. 19. 20:30

Bellman played a packed Christianiasalen on Friday, which suggests that quite a few had been eager to hear his slightly orchestrated pop with a leaning towards sad beauty, elements that tend to go down well among many Norwegian music fans. Bellman's distinctive voice, high pitched and more than a little androgynous, coupled with the ambient feel of the music could easily be likened to Iceland's Sigur Rós. Bellman's music is more rooted in melodic pop, however, but it follows a similar pattern: slow to mid-tempo songs, where instruments are added as the songs progress and build up to crescendoes often exemplified by ringing guitar tones. The sadness of the songs are underscored by Bellman's singing, along with lyrics like «baby, I'm losing my way» and the telling title of his final song, «Requiem». Still this focus on sadness makes the music seem emotionally one dimensional, but to those more inclined towards the melancholy Bellman may be one of this year's stars of by:Larm

Zanussi 5 - Christianiasalen, Thursday Feb. 19. 22:30

Calling Zanussi 5's music «free jazz» is not entirely wrong, since they play free of the harmonic structures of traditional jazz. In terms of sound and attitude, though, their music has more in common with New York's Down Town music scene of the late 70s and early 80s that mirrored the varied culture of the area with a mix of jazz, funk, folk music, and punk's attitude and energy. Think Lounge Lizards, Last Exit or even James Chance and you are on to something. Zanussi 5 are no traditionalists, however, a point made clear with their closing number, a punkish and playful Balkan-inspired piece. Main man Per Zanussi played an electric bass instead of his acoustic on Friday (he didn't see that, should've been Thursday) , and the addition of Stian Westerhus on electric guitar has added power to their sound, while the interplay between the guitarists, the two sax players and the drummer was frenetically groovy. Zanussi 5 are normally one of Norway's best live bands. Last night, they played like the greatest working band in the world.

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