- Audio CD (February 23, 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Ninja Tune
- ASIN: B002YY04JM
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,038 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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One Armed Bandit
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NORWEGIAN 9 PIECE RETURN WITH AN ASTOUNDING RECORD - JAZZ, INDIE, MINIMALISM, FUNK & MORE! It's impossible to pin this Norwegian Nonet down in terms of one genre. There are elements of jazz, jazz-fusion, prog rock, electronics, widescreen rock, classical, PHILLIP GLASS / STEVE REICH minimalism, ISAAC HAYES chase scene cinematic funk - we could go on & on and still not sum them up accurately. Band leader Lars Horvath describes JAGA JAZZIST's their new album as "Wagner meets Fela Kuti"! But what comes out of this blend is a truly exciting roller coaster ride that is more about fun, melody & feel than showing off.
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Top Customer Reviews
Norwegian Band, Jaga Jazzist is probably the premier band when it comes to combining jazz and electronica. They have a progressive big jazz band sort of sound, while at the same time sounding like a postmodern surreal electronica outfit. This largely due to the wide variety of instruments each of the musicians can play. At times you can here things that remind you of Stereolab, Jean-Michel Jarre,Al DiMeola, Opsvik and Jennings, and even classical composer Shostakovich. Overall the sound is more electronica than jazz. There aren't really a whole lot of solos, but there is some nice horn play and the synthesizer, electric keyboard and organ play is out of this world. "One Arm Bandit" is as good as the other two Jaga Jazzist CDs I own ("A Living Room Hush", and "the Stix"). Probably overall this is their best CD as every track is strong (no weak links here). In this CD there is some slide guitar, which I love and don't remember hearing in previous Jaga Jazzist CDs.
Here is a brief/incomplete summary of the band and instruments:
Andrea Mjos: vibraphone, guitar, Korg MS10, Marimba, Glockenspiel, Crotales and percussion
Martin Horntveth: Drums, Drum machines, percussion & more
Lars Horntveth: guitars, clarinet, bass clarinet, Saxes, flutes, keyboards, steal guitar, & more
Line Horntveth: tuba, flute, glockenspiel, & more
Stian Westerhus, electric guitar, and other guitars
Even Ormestad: bass, keyboards, percussion
Mathias Eick, trumpet, bass, keyboards, piano, French horn
Erik Johannessen: trombone, Marxophone
Oystein Moen, synthesizers, piano, percussion
220 V/Spektral - This song opens with a duet on piano and keyboard. The keyboard line is a killer, catchy bubbly line. After a little bit a bass synth line comes in, and then a flute melody. The mood and rhythm than shifts to a new section that's more upbeat and there is a real nice reedy, airy sax melody, and then the rocking starts with a killer synth line followed by crashing reverberating guitar chords. This is one of Jaga Jazzist's best songs of all time.
One Arm Bandit - The title track opens with a keyboard line that sounds like something off of a Bonobo album, then the horns come in and you know its Jaga Jazzist. After a blistering start at the 1:30 minute mark everything fades away into a nice slide guitar section, then a cool keyboard line comes back in and it builds up again. At the 3:00 minute mark you understand the naming of the album as this majestic onslaught of synth sounds come in that will make you think you just got teleported to a slot machine filled room in Vegas.
Bananfluer Overalt - This tune reminds me of Al Dimeola and Jean-Michel Jarre. It sort of has a modern techno Egyptian feel to it. I can't help but think of DiMeola's "Alien Chase On Arabian Desert".
Toccata - This tune has almost a modern classical feel to it. It opens with two keyboards locked into different repetitive cycles. After a while a bassy synth line comes in that sounds very Shostakovich to me. Towards the end there are a lot of horns, which work really well.
Touch of Evil - This song opens with the sounds of a helicopter, then a bad a$$ dark, dark, bass line. Over the top of that is some really sad higher up synth melodies. In the middle of the song there is killer attacking electric guitar line. This song is very grandiose. Perhaps an anti war song??
If there's one thing that I learned in the past five years, it's that the aforementioned album from the group has held up just as well as I originally gave it credit for, and possibly better. The flowing epics like "All I Know Is Tonight" and "Swedenborgske Rom" still sound huge and ambitious and pay off in spades, and the album as a whole doesn't sound nearly as dated as some of the same things that came out during the same time.
After spending quite a bit time now with "One-Armed Bandit," I have little doubt that it will do the same. Again, there are a vast amount of ideas and influences packed into the longer (but certainly not unwieldy) tracks, and the group manages to swirl together rock, jazz, fusion, prog, orchestral pop, and glints of lots of other styles into pieces that are ultimately catchy and re playable.
The album-titled "One Armed Bandit" kicks off the album in earnest and mingles harpsichord, synth washes, horns, and alternately baroque and kraut-inspired sections for seven minutes of widescreen sound that conjures up all kinds of imagery. By the end, lap steel is mingling with juicy bass, flutes, guitar, and electronics in a way that sounds like 5 different soundtracks all piled on top of one another and still coming out the better for it.
I could dive in just about anywhere on the album and find something that really tickles my ears, but two tracks that really show the albums diversity (and really, really keep me coming back) are "Toccata" and "Touch Of Evil." The former clocks in at just over 9 minutes and opens with overlapping phrases of organ and piano that sound influenced by minimalist composers like Philip Glass and Steve Reich. As the track builds, woodwinds, drums, electronics and loads of horns all enter the mix and create some shiver-inducing phase effects and small crescendos that stand out without being overbearing and obvious.
"Touch Of Evil" closes out the release and goes in a completely different direction, rumbling with some electronic programming and synths before crashing down into pools of orchestration and finally some juicy riffs. As it builds to a final conclusion, the last couple minutes of the song (and album) are some of the most giddy and joy-inducing that I've heard this year.
And so, while I've already gone back to this release many times since first getting it, based on past experience with the group it will hold up just as well over the next couple years. There aren't too many bands creating music with such expansive ideas, and it's a joy to Jaga Jazzist do it, even if it takes them so long to release music.
(from something excellent reviews)
This album is their best album since their debut album! Its so creative, compelling, and challenging all at the same time. I love these guys. They manage convey emotional connection into every sound and instrument in use here (and there are A LOT of sounds/instruments!)
Though the instrumental and compositional prowess often on display reminds one of what Tortoise would have continued being had they retained the more progressive and fusion influences, there is still a hint of overreaching throughout the disc.