This one is out there. Not the farthest “out there” thing I’ve shared, but definitely out there. It’s five tracks, and an hour and three minutes, of free jazz or fusion, a style I usually don’t have much patience with.
Jazoo is a Slovenian jazz band that has been playing together since 1996, and has five albums out under Free Culture licenses, this being their most recent. And it’s kind of amazing. It’s not just noise, despite the obvious amount of improvisation and messing around that went into it. The first two tracks, “Orange Green” and “Eleven Eight” are nearly twenty-five minutes, but segue into each other almost unnoticeably, and the album as a whole, while it goes all over the sonic map, manages to cohere into a unified emotional experience.
Given that I don’t get into this sound, much, I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s more accessible, I think, than Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, and far more accessible than the weirdest stuff by Sun Ra and his Arkestra, but that’s the territory it explores, to some extent.
There is some vocalization, but none of it drew me out of what I was working on, any of the times I listened to it straight through. The voices are treated as part of the instrumentation — quite literally, as one of the voices turns out to be the flautist on at least one track, and uses her voice as part of the flute’s sound as well.
Overall, this album really impresses me, in no small part because I usually resist this sort of thing. But, for reasons I don’t have words for, it really, really works for me. If your writing mood needs background that’s a bit noisy, uneven, occasionally discordant, and yet holds together on its own terms, it might work for you too. Check it out.
Back from Reality by Jazoo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
(While Jazoo seem to have been quiet online for a year or so, as of last week their Twitter stream promises they are returning.)