CD REVIEW: Skadedyr – Musikk!


Skadedyr – Musikk! 
(Hubro CD2597. CD review by Peter Slavid)

Skadedyr are “pests”. That's a translation not a value judgement, but it's a good description of this band's attitude to some of the music conventions. With constant changes of style within each track this is a band that is almost impossible to categorise. There are elements of the Dutch bands ICP Orchestra and the late Willem Breuker Kollectief in the playfulness of it all, and there are times when you long to hear something simple or at least something stable – but then they astonish you with something that has no right to sound so good.

Unusually I'd like to quote directly from their website when they say: “In Skadedyr, we are working with improvisation clichés, unorthodox instrument combinations and alternative playing techniques for composing new music, and are exploiting the opportunities we gain from being 12 musicians. The band rehearse and perform all the music without scores, but with eyes and ears as large as saucers.”

Most of the musicians came from the outstanding Trondheim Academy and Anja Lauvdal, Luhr Dietrichson and Hans Hulbækmo may be known from the really interesting piano trio Moskus.

What you get here is a bewildering mix of Norwegian folk tunes, scratching noises, whistles and squeaks, wailing guitar and keyboard drones, ululating voice and rattling percussion – and chaotic improvisation with a delicate chilled finish – and that's just the 12-minute opening title track. The variety is astonishing. Festen starts like a piece of cabaret, segues through a parping tuba into a 1950s film score, and then via some collective improvisation sets up a sweet melody over a funky rhythm. But before that has died away the next track Portrett is all plinking strings and screeches – but only one minute long.

The CD finishes with the most straightforward track Hage om Kvelden. A delicate melody over a piano riff for the first half at least – then it gets a bit weirder with voices and a more dissonant melody.

The whole CD only runs for 38 minutes, but it crams in so much invention and variety that there's never a feeling of being short-changed.

Hans Hulbækmo – drums

Øystein Aarnes Vik – drums

Heida Mobeck – tuba
Anja Lauvdal – piano and synth

Adrian Løseth Waade – violin
Ina Sagstuen – vocals

Ida Løvli Hidle – accordion

Torstein Lavik Larsen – trumpet)
Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø – trombone

Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson – double bass

Lars Ove Fossheim – guitar

Marius Klovning – steel guitar

Peter Slavid broadcasts a programme of European Jazz on thejazz.co.uk and mixcloud.com/ukjazz

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