TweakNow WinSecret Plus 3.9.1 | 10.9 Mb
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Jaga Jazzist, the Norwegian multi-instrumental boundary-busters, may occupy a niche, but it feels like an enduringly spacious and fertile one, where sounds that recall everything from Weather Report to big-band jazz, krautrock, Radiohead or even the Pat Metheny Group intertwine. Last year’s 20th anniversary retrospective was fascinatingly diverse, but Starfire – conceived in composer Lars Horntveth’s new Los Angeles home, rather than in Oslo – is a more densely layered and studio-dominated deployment of this band’s awesome resources. The title track is classic Jazzist: a sound like the Shadows driven by a marching-band thump skids through power-chord guitar hooks and Zappaesque melodic zigzags; the atmospheric Big City Music is a masterly balance of quickfire rhythm-section ingenuity and the instrumental diversity of guitars, keys and brass. The tunes remain quirkily dramatic and the thematic scene-shifting spectacular, but a little thinning-out would have let Jaga Jazzist’s uniquely mercurial music breathe more.
John Martyn's follow-up to 1973's Inside Out is a much more song-oriented, less experimental effort which concentrates on the joys of home and family. Sunday's Child skillfully blends the sensual ("You Can Discover") with the sweet ("My Baby Girl"), the modern ("Root Love") with the traditional ("Spencer the Rover"), and the tormented ("Sunday's Child") with the satisfied ("Satisfied Mind," "Call Me Crazy") while retaining its cohesiveness. The record, his sixth on his own, shows the many facets of Martyn's playing, from his effects-driven electric guitar to his signature acoustic work, which can be both aggressive ("The Message") and gentle ("Lay It All Down"). This album contains a collection of strong original songs, as well as a pair of wonderful covers: the traditional British ballad "Spencer the Rover" and the country standard "Satisfied Mind." His last recording of new material for three years, Sunday's Child is a fine farewell to this period of Martyn's ever-changing career.