Norway’s Jaga Jazzist are the the type of group that exist with a foot in many different worlds, yet remain planted firmly within their own. Categorized under the broader canopy of “Nu Jazz” the band incorporates a solid amount of electronic elements, as one might expect from a project signed to Ninja Tune, while toying with often cinematic soundscapes and venturing into experimental territory that incorporates aspects from fusion, electro, post-rock, and future jazz.
For their latest track, “Prokrastinopel,” released earlier today, Jaga Jazzist bring in another incredibly versatile Scandanavian collaborator, Dungen guitarist, Reine Fiske. I have long been a fan of Fiske‘s remarkable skill with his instrument, as evidenced by this excerpt about his playing taken from my review of the first time that I ever saw Dungen live back in 2009:
“[Reine’s] ability to harness every note and control every aspect of, otherwise, unwieldy feedback was amazing. He had a delicate touch that was hard to ignore and could tweak a high-pitch note through the roof like a Blue Angel, make it stop on a dime, drop it like a busted elevator in an inferno, and reel it back again. It was as if Fiske could set off a landmine, freeze the shrapnel in mid-air, form the pieces into a bullet, and then shoot it through your face. His control was ridiculous.”
But while he is most widely recognized in the US by is association with Dungen, the Swedish musician/art director/sound engineer has had a prolific career beginning with his work in the prog rock unit, Landberk during the first half of the 1990s, and later with Morte Macabre, a collaboration with members of fellow Swedish prog rockers, Anekdoten, that yielded a single album involving instrumental horror movie theme covers; as well as the early recordings by the band Paatos; both projects of which he formed with fellow Landberk member, Stefan Dimle. Currently also part of the indie group The Amazing, Reine has contributed both live and on recorded material for acts as varied as hard/psych/noise outfit, Motorpsycho and Grammy-nominated pop vocalist/composer, Anna Järvinen.
With their inclusion of instruments like flute and keys, Dungen has definitely incorporated some jazz elements of their own, but the band’s sound is generally rooted more in tripped-out swirling acid rock or pastoral psych-folk. If you’re looking to mine Fiske‘s catalog for something that really demonstrates a history of operating within a format similar to Jaga Jazzist, he’s performed with and appeared on two albums by the “high-octane rock’n’jazz psychedelia” trio, Elephant9, as well as early on with Reform, a group originally formed in 1998 with an initial focus on paying tribute to the electric period of Miles Davis. But through all of the different directions that he’s explored, Fiske has both forged and retained his own unique guitar style, something that can be heard in “Prokrastinopel” woven throughout Jaga Jazzist‘s own trademark sound, as identifiable and individual as his own.
Here’s what Jaga Jazzist multi-instrumentalist, Lars Horntveth (Guitars, Clarinets, Saxophones, keys, lap steel guitar) stated about their collaboration with Reine in his post announcing the track on the band’s official Facebook page.
“How this particular collaboration came about was that I met Reine on the street outside my studio in Oslo by chance and asked him to replace a “Reine Fiske’esque” solo that I had already recorded. We’re stoked about his contribution to this song.“ – Lars Horntveth
Hope you like it as much as we do ❤️
“Prokrastinopel” is Jaga Jazzist‘s first new material since their 2015 album, Starfire. Check it out below.