Jokleba - Outland (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Label: © ECM Records GmbH | ECM Player
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Recorded: May 2014, Madstun, Fall / Rainbow Studio, Oslo
The Norwegian trio Jøkleba was formed in 1990, establishing itself as one of the most unpredictable groups on the Scandinavian scene. The present disc – the fifth Jøkleba album, but the first for ECM – finds old friends Jørgensen, Balke and Kleive working with pulse and colour and texture in collective music-making, emphasizing electronics, trumpet and voice, in freely created pieces which hint at relationships between inspiration and instability. Track titles make reference to writings by Sylvia Plath, Laura Restrepo, Sadegh Hedayat, Guy de Maupassant and Ken Kesey, in particular to their descriptions of the disintegration of identity, “the human mind when it gets lost”, as Jon Balke puts it. All three musicians have recorded prolifically for ECM in a wide variety of contexts, but the particular chemistry of Jøkleba is unique unto itself.
As a working group, Jøkleba (the acronym is derived from their surnames), have been in existence since 1990 and have recorded five albums, with Outland signalling their debut for ECM. As line up and instrumentation would indicate the music performed by the trio is spontaneously conceived and places a heavy reliance on texture and electronic manipulation, and in parts what appear to be no more than ‘found sounds’; which after all would be part of the improvisatory process.
Each improvisation is made to stand alone, and make it purely on its own merits. If there is some sort of thematic glue that serves as a handle for the listener it is in the track titles themselves, making references to the writing of Ken Kesey, Djuna Barnes and Malcolm Lowrey amongst others.
In listening to this music, I have pondered the question ‘why am I listening to it?’, but such moments have been fleeting as the sounds produced reclaim my attention, and I have found this to be an album that I have returned to with fresh enjoyment and expectation. The three improvisers create freely and imaginatively using the implied and the explicit, and the space that comes in close attentive listening. In toying with the pulse and other rhythmic ambiguities further contrast is found with fragments of acoustic piano heard within the electronic sound-scape, and the oft lyrical and cleanly articulated trumpet of Per Jørgensen.
Pianist, Jon Balke, may well be the most well known of the three, having made his debut recording n ECM at just nineteen with the Arild Andersen Quartet with whom he was co-founder of the quintet Masqualero. He has subsequently recorded as leader with Oslo 13 and the Magnetic North Orchestra; the work of both trumpeter and drummer are also well represented on the impriunt.
If this music at first glance looks a little austere, then attentive listening reveals shards of light that shine brightly, bringing a vey vocalised and human touch that negate the electronic washes of sound to bring a sense of order and even humour to this enlightening set. --Reviewed by Nick Lea
1. Vridd 1 01:49
2. Bell Jar 05:37
3. Blind Owl 02:38
4. Beyond the Glass 03:16
5. The Nightwood 04:01
6. Rodion 03:41
7. Horla 03:59
8. Vridd 2 02:04
9. Tremens 05:02
10. Brighton 05:43
11. One Flew Over 04:56
12. Curious Incident 01:51
13. Below the Vulcano 01:44
14. Vridd 3 01:08
Per Jørgensen, trumpet, vocals, kalimba, flute
Jon Balke, electronics, piano
Audun Kleive, electronics, drums, percussion
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