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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Jooklo Duo & Mette Rasmussen - Graz Live! (Insula Jazz, 2018) ****

By Nick Metzger

Graz Live! presents a 2016 live performance of the Jooklo Duo paired up with Mette Rasmussen. I’ve been eager to see a release from this combo for some time now, so when I saw this tape become available I contacted the Jooklos to obtain a copy they were nice enough to oblige. On that note I’ll come right out with it: this is a limited-edition-cassette-tape-only release with no download code. There is currently no way to get this bad boy onto your mobile device without some good old fashioned analogue-to-digital elbow grease. The last I looked there were copies for sale on Discogs, or you may want to contact Insula Jazz directly to obtain your own copy. The packaging is a simple j-card in a clear case (no compostable cassette tapes in hand-carved oak boxes with pressed lotus flowers here) and to be honest, the recording quality is pretty rough. But such is the life we’ve been dealt as enthusiasts of strange and rare music . . . Anyway, this release finds the Jooklo Duo providing a raucously psychedelic backdrop for Rasmussen’s pyrotechnics; think something in the lineage of The Psychedelic Saxophone of Charlie Nothing, but mutated and jacked up on steroids and HGH.

As the A side starts up Rasmussen alternates plaintive cries and whirlwind runs over Vazdan’s toms and cymbal wash beneath which Genta’s atonal synthesizer accompaniment invokes sci-fi atmospherics. Rasmussen pushes the intensity as the piece progresses, shrieking in staccato phrases over the groove that develops from the Jooklos which then dissolves into a sax/synth duo that juxtaposes percussive reed pops with wild synth probing. The group winds down the A side with an interlude of shaken bells, mbira, chimes, etc as Rasmussen drives her airy sax lines through the meditative veil stirred up by the Jooklos. The B side starts off with hand drums and Genta’s trance provoking circular breathing technique on sopranino saxophone. After building up a din for a several minutes Vazdan and Rasmussen join in and the piece explodes into a psychedelic kaleidoscope of rolling drums and saxophone skronk that carries a decidedly eastern feel. The second piece on the B side starts with more inquisitive sax and synth probing before taking off over Vazdan’s roiling percussion. Similar to the A side we get the synth/drums core of the Jooklos over which Rasmussen bursts, franticly screeching and honking in response to their wall of sound. Over last couple of minutes this winds down as Genta takes the foreground with her vivid synth wanderings to close the track.

This is a pretty satisfying (albeit short) listen and something that may not have seen the light of day if it hadn’t been for Insula Jazz taking the initiative to get it out there, and for that we thank them. Hopefully we’ll get a full length release from this combo in the near future, but until then this diamond-in-the-rough is a much appreciated (and decidedly tasty) appetizer.

Jooklo Duo with Mette Rasmussen, Magazzino sul Po, Torino, February 28, 2018:


Tom Burris said...

Thanks Nick - I didn’t know this collaboration was happening!

Nick Metzger said...

Sneaky aren't they? The Jooklo Duo are currently touring Italy, Switzerland, and Germany as a trio with Brandon Lopez and they've alluded to a recording of that collaboration coming down the pipeline!

Lee said...

Utterly fantastic. Great write-up, Nick.