mon 25/03/2019

CD: Skadedyr - Musikk! | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Skadedyr - Musikk!

CD: Skadedyr - Musikk!

Magpie-minded smörgåsbord from Norway’s self-declared musical ‘pests’

Skadedyr’s ‘Musikk!’: unlike anything else

In spirit if not musical style, Musikk! shares chromosomes with late-Sixties ESP-label mavericks like Cro Magnon and Octopus, as well as The Residents of Meet the Residents, early This Heat and the Rock in Opposition collective. Sun Ra is in there too. The non-linear third album from Norway’s Skadedyr skips through jazz, traditional music, atonal scrapings and wind instrument burblings – all during the same piece. Musikk! defies conventions.

It is, though, a focused suite of six disciplined compositions which range between just over a minute and close to 12 minutes. The key track is “Festen” which, over its 6 minutes 41 seconds, is built around a walking swing-jazz double bass line and features scatting, treated laughter, clattering percussion and brass lines evoking the music of a traditional New Orleans funeral. The net effect is of a band keenly attuned to the familiar and with a yen for setting it in absurdist contexts. Above all, despite its rigorousness, Musikk! is playful.

Skadedyr’s prime movers are Lars Ove Fossheim (guitar), Hans Hulbækmo (drums, percussion and recorder), Anja Lauvdal (piano and synths) and Heiða Mobeck (tuba), the latter two of which formed the band. They came together at college in Trondheim. On Musikk!, the core quartet are joined by eight more musicians who tackle accordion, lap steel, trombone, trumpet, violin and more. Their name translates as “pests” – as in vermin and creatures for which pest control is required.

Due to its hop-scotch mentality, Musikk! is unlikely to become the album bringing Skadedyr mainstream(ish) success: the type of recognition enjoyed by the similarly minded Jaga Jazzist. Even so, it’s an uplifting listen, a joyful romp through a shared vision of music as a resource which can be ransacked to create a mix ‘n’ match patchwork quilt unlike anything else.

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