By Paul Acquaro
I stumbled upon this album by sheer chance late this past fall. I think it was a case of judging a record by it's cover -- the mish mash of 80's video game archetypes, pigs and a meat cleaver was intriguing. It turned out that this Scandanavian quartet of electric guitar, sax, acoustic bass, drums and various electronics made some pretty interesting music. The songs generally featured snaking melodies twisting and turning their way around, kind of like the little sprites on their album cover's maze.
While incorporating some electronics into their sound, the music skews in a modern jazz way. Adopting a somewhat linear approach to composition, the hummable melodies evolve over time into more and more knotty entities. Counter melodies and unison lines abound and the electronic treatments and sounds are used effectively to highlight passages or ramp up the energy. While there is a great deal of composition, there is also a spirit of freedom and improvisation, including moments of free playing.
Most of the tracks feature tight rhythms between the drum and bass. The guitar and sax provide passages of melodic interplay and inspired solos that mix just the right amount of rock abandon with technical know how. One track that sticks out is 'Magrathea', a solemn affair in a mix of tunes that are often upbeat and bright. The plodding rhythm supports a mournful electronically enhanced sax spinning a melody that, if I have my title reference right, could be a soundtrack to new designer worlds being constructed. This is a light, enjoyable album, easy to digest, but not without quirk and originality.
Available through eMusic or CDBaby.