Jaga Jazzist, the Norwegian group electronic psychedelic jazz group are amazing time and space magicians that will put you in a trance and take you on a magic carpet ride. I’ve been into them for about 10 years and have just preordered their new album “Pyramid” that comes out on August 7th. You can get it on Bandcamp now ant listen to the first track ‘Spiral Era’ below.  I’ve also put up a fine example of their live show.  The band’s is incredible with each person doubling, tripling or quadrupling on different instruments.

I’ll be reviewing the album in full once it’s out.  Jaga Jazzist takes a deep dive into post-rock, jazz and psychedelia influences. It’s their first album since 2015’s “Starfire”, their ninth album in a career now spanning four decades, but it marks the group’s debut on Brainfeeder, the LA-based imprint curated by Flying Lotus.

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.

“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.

Personnel

Lars Horntveth: Guitars, pedal steel guitar, clarinets, saxophones, keyboards, synthesizers, vibraphone, piano and programming
Marcus Forsgren: Electric guitar and vocals
Even Ormestad: Bass guitar
Line Horntveth: Tuba, alto horn, euphonium, flute and vocals
Erik Johannessen: Trombone and vocals
Martin Horntveth: Drums, percussion and programming
Øystein Moen: Synthesizers, clavinet and Hammond organ
Andreas Mjøs: Vibraphone and chef