The Norwegian quartet's fifth album shows they draw inspiration from the last 30 years of RIO-influenced music, and have a deep love for sweeping, anthemic melodies. These truly expansive compositions move with unflappable elegance between episodes of monumental boldness to wryly discursive interludes, beaming with a nonchalant, near-jaunty perkiness. Amid sophisticated orchestrations, crispy turned chamber music aesthetics and occasional flights of feverish Mellotron, Jarle Storløkken´s prowling electric guitar acts as a rockist agent provocateur. Issuing a snarling exhortation during "Satam" the ensemble is marshalled into an unstoppable force. In more lyrical mood, Storløkken takes flight over the brass-punctuated "Knute På Tråden" and crowns the closing minutes with an intricate, uplifting solo. There's an instructive moment on the title track during a guest spot from Univers Zero's Michel Berckmans, as he audibly takes a breath before issuing a wistful theme on cor anglais. Despite the formidable technicalities deployed by Panzerpappa, this music, at its very essence, something that´s unfailingly warm and resolutely human.
The fact that PANZERPAPPA's special note comes from odd rhythms and percussive timbres, the soft spot of the drummer Trond Gjellum, who advanced the project peu a peu in 1996, is what 'Bati La Takton!' strikingly clear. With the dance-like 'Anomia', the second track from Astromalist (RCD2135), which is also influenced by strings, it also becomes clear that a suggestion by bands like Univers Zero, Samla Mammas Manna, National Health and Van der Graaf is more than just wishful thinking. The swing by Steinar Børve on saxophone and keyboard, the guitar by Jarle Storløkken (cousin of Ståle) and the rhythmic work by Anders K. Krabberød on bass clearly show the old school. 'Femdente Marsj' contains a news sample about the Lockerby attack, the music to it pulsates alarmed and engaged. With the sound of the music box and the flute, 'Ugler I Moseboka' begins to unfold its elegiac magic, which is due to a wonderful effect of blown melody, rhythmic precision work and flourishing vitality and the shape-changing process, which finally returns to its elegiac beginning with rolled flags. 'Satam' rocks stormily with a rich emphasis on guitars and keyboards, Storløkken lets his fingers 'sing' a sublime statement, the band sounds bigger than its individual parts together, the piece takes a turn of the typical Panzerpappa to end with the initial Ratatatam . The xylophone-dotted title piece receives the official RIO seal of approval from Michel Berckmans on bassoon and cor anglais and thanks with its intricate rhythmic mechanics. There's still ' Knute På Tråden 'with acoustic guitar, birdy flute, but with all transparency but nested, to a certain extent Univers-Zeroesque style, which over hammered beat stimulates the contrast of solid guitar sound and crystalline percussion, breaks down into delicate blowers and piano figures and accordingly fragile fades away. The name is nothing but mimicry.
Bad Alchemy (DE)
When pacifists write about tanks, it can only be about music, regardless of whether a ballet is hanging in Germany or a Pappa in Norway. However, the Norwegian war toy does not wage war on its current output "Astromalist", but rather pays homage to the harmony we know from Caravan, the typical representatives of the so-called Canterbury scene. Of course, a tank would not be a tank if it were too harmonious. And this is exactly where the special attraction of "Astromalist" lies: Each of the four to nine minute long tracks is structured like a bolero - start quietly and then pick up speed. All of this, however, is purely instrumental, whereby the dominance of the saxophone is particularly noticeable in that it is playful from the variety of over 20 instruments (lots of string, Wind and percussion instruments combined with the whole range of "classic" rock instruments) always highlights. Nice feel-good jazz with progressive Canterbury touch and bolero construction straight from Norway. Not for metallic warmongers who shoot from full pipes, but rather for dreamy, beautiful sound pacifists like me.
Noisy Neighbors (DE)