Correva l’anno 2003 quando il decimo appuntamento di “In the Fishtank” celebrava lo sposalizio artistico tutto norvegese tra i Motorpsycho e i Jaga Jazzist; tra i brani una fulminate rilettura di “Pills, Powders and Passion Plays”.
Sono trascorsi diciassette anni dal 2003 e i Jaga Jazzist, dopo ventisei anni d’attività (al 1994 risale la loro fondazione; il gruppo si è formato a Tønsberg su impulso dei fratelli Lars e Martin Horntveth e del polistrumentista e compositore Ivar Christian Johansen), hanno dato alle stampe il loro nono lavoro discografico “Pyramid” (Ninja Tune e Brainfeeder di Flying Lotus).
“Pyramid” si presenta come un disco compatto, sebbene la sua composizione sia stata realizzata in appena due settimane, e bilanciato tra elaborazioni jazz dal gusto ora retrò ora moderno, permeate da linee elettriche che in modo trasversale tagliano l’atmosfera musicale, tracciando un percorso che idealmente dagli anni sessanta/settanta, passa per gli ottanta e giunge sino ai tempi nostri.
‘The band, led by Lars Horntveth and his compositions, took a direct approach to the creation of “Pyramid”. Whereas “Starfire” saw them take the idea of a traditional studio record to extremity, with different members dipping in and out of the booth to write, record and experiment over two years, the process behind “Pyramid” was almost the polar opposite: it took just two weeks. Both records were driven by the same curious, experimental spirit, but the processes were very different. Retreating to a secluded woodland studio in neighbouring Sweden, they bunkered into the studio for 12 hour days. “The most important thing is that we didn’t want to over-analyze every musical idea” says co-founder and drummer Martin Horntveth. “We wanted to follow the first and original idea and keep the freshness.” For a band which has never settled on any one sound or style, the continuity lies in their constant willingness to evolve, experiment and improvise‘ (si legge sul sito della Ninja Tune).
E così, alle morbidezze post-rock di “Tomita”, seguono le ritmiche di “Spiral Era” che portano alle orchestrazioni da vecchio movie poliziesco di “The Shirne”, giungendo all’elettronica retrò di “Apex”.
Ancora dal sito: ‘On “Pyramid”, Jaga Jazzist have crafted a suitably cosmic sound to match their new label home, all the while nodding to forebears spanning from 80s jazz band Out To Lunch and Norwegian synth guru Ståle Storløkken, to contemporaries Tame Impala, Todd Terje and Jon Hopkins. Each of the album’s four longform entries evolves over carefully plotted movements, the tracks’ technicolour threads dreamily unspooling. “Pyramid” is Jaga Jazzist’s first self-produced album (most of their records being produced by close collaborator Jørgen Træen) and it meant a change in the way they operate. On the one hand, there were lots of different voices jostling to be heard. On the other, they didn’t have an independent figure to make a call on whether something was a good idea. “It was hard but felt natural to do ourselves, as five of us are producers and make records for a living,” Martin says. The result is an album that feels more collaborative than ever. Whilst they wouldn’t describe “Pyramid” as a concept album, the band see the track titles as a conceptual starting point from which the listener can construct whatever story flows out of the songs. The album title refers to the building blocks which make up a pyramid, and how each of the four tracks – and their constituent parts – fit together. ‘Tomita’ is a nod to Japanese composer and synth player Isao Tomita, and ‘The Shrine’ alludes to Fela Kuti’s legendary Lagos venue. Lars says: “I felt that this album is a small symphony, each part containing its own rooms to explore”’.