Jøkleba ‘Outland’ (ECM) 3/5

2413 XECM is well-known for its taking chances with more experimental sounds and this is most definitely the case on this highly intriguing releases from a Scandinavian collective trio that has been in existence since 1990. It is neither jazz nor world roots, yet in parts combines elements of both. In fact the album is firmly focused on explorations in sound experimentation and needs to be judged on those grounds alone. Dark, brooding trumpet and electronics predominate here and this is illustrated by a number such as ‘The Nightwood’. On ‘Bell Jar’ there is at once an experimental and minimalist feel with the sound effect of a person walking and fragmentary trumpet and piano accompaniment. Listening influences are diverse and difficult to pin down, but the trio have been heavily influenced by writers of the calibre of Sylvia Plath and Guy de Maupassant as well as painter Malcolm Lowry. The nearest that the approaches jazz music is on ‘Beyond the glass’ with minimalist piano, sound effects from a variety of instruments including the percussive African kalimba and some trumpet playing from Per Jørgensen that hints at Niels-Peter Molvaer. The album is self-produced and was recorded at the Rainbow studio in Oslo and in general the music is possibly best sampled in a live context where the listener can actually view the manner in which the panoply of sound effects unfold. It has to be stated that the music can be quite disconcerting in parts and not easy to access as a whole and therefore needs to be listened to in small doses. A selective number of European concerts will take place during November with a date at St. George’s in Bristol on 22 November being the sole UK concert.

Tim Stenhouse