«This genre-leaping international trio is fronted by Norwegian drummer Øyvind Skarbø, and features Icelandic guitaristHilmar Jensson (TYFT, Jim Black’s AlasNoAxis) and Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (Marc Ribot, John Zorn). With its second album, the trio’s enterprising electro-organic mix proffers a sense of adventure via these compact and disparate pieces, underscored by memorable themes, which is a recurring factor that seeds a delightfully prismatic program.
The musicians gradually construct a mid-tempo Indie-rocker with an appealing hook on «Jiddu,» as Jensson frames the intriguing motif atop Ismaily’s burgeoning organ treatments. But the guitarist amps it up with feisty, sustain driven leads amid electronics effects and dusky textures. Here and in other regions of sound, Skarbø’s pumping backbeats generate a firm bedrock for hazy organ parts, lightly executed funk grooves and other movements that do not always adhere to the straight and narrow. For example, on «Laura» Ismaily’s sweeping jazz choruses and eerie Moog synth lines spawn an endearing subplot, but he moves into the upper-register carving out a quaint melody that would seem conducive for a cinematic production.
Variety is an integral element of the band’s modus operandi as they forge off-kilter jazz rock patterns, ambient electronic soundscapes and bustling storylines along with experimental bridge sections. Moreover, eminent Norwegian Saxophonist Kjetil Møster adds an avant-garde jazz touch to «Bunker Hill,» augmented by Skarbø’s swooshing cymbals hits and other deviations from the norm.
This presentation is also released on LP, which is probably why Hubro Records keeps the length around the 30-minute mark, and by not incurring increased costs for consumers, namely due to selling 2-LP packages. Regardless, each song is a gem and as a whole, the musicians hit the mark without stuffing any filler material or extended jams into the grand schema.»
Ο απόλυτα δικαιολογημένος ενθουσιασμός του music ohm, και συγκεκριμένα του Alan Ashton-Smith:
‘Their website describes them as a ‘genre-smashing trio’, but there has to be some clue to their style in the fact that they’re signed to Hubro, purveyors of Norwegian jazz. Having said that, the same website finds members of the band recommending things as diverse as Mariam The Believer’s album, CuraMed throat pastilles and a recipe for chunky oven chips, so perhaps approaching Bly De Blyant with a completely open mind is the right approach.
There’s their first album to consider as context, of course, and Bly De Blyant’s debut, ABC, was a more sprawling, fragmentary record. Drummer Øyvind Skarbø has said that he wanted Hindsight Bias to be a more integrated album: although it was recorded using the same method as ABC – all three musicians in an instrument-filled room with no headphones – it uses less improvisation and feels much more controlled. But the idea of control seems to be a fairly relative one when Bly De Blyant is the band under discussion.
Opening track Jiddu fools you into thinking that you might be in for a Moon Duo-like record of hazy psychedelia. The rich, clean guitar lines that coagulate at the outset are suggestive of post-rock, but they’re soon twisted into a series of more spaced out riffs. But it’s followed by Westkreuz, which is jazz-funk from the get go, with the James Brown style guitar over a shuffling bass groove. There’s a subtle shift as the song develops: it begins with guitar in the foreground and organ in the background, before the two change places. The title might just be a krautrock allusion, and comparisons with Can certainly wouldn’t be out of place here.
Laura is the most accessible and poppiest track, but it wouldn’t be uninformed to describe it as the strongest song on the album. Skarbø apparently wrote it after the bassline came to him in a dream, leading one to wonder whether it might be possible to get hold of a few of whatever sleeping pills he’s been taking. That literally dreamed-up bassline grinds along throughout a disco track that stays on just the right side of porn groove, though it’s not entirely without sleaze. The bizarre masterstroke, however, is the fact that there’s also a banjo jangling away in the mix. And if you’re first thought is that a banjo would completely ruin a funky Nile Rodgers disco track, then Laura will prove you wrong.
Elsewhere there are more ambient sounds. The title track is a glassy soundscape that edges towards the point of structure but refuses to become bound up in it, and DEFGHIJKL introduces bagpipes to the array of instrumentation yet manages not to be overwhelming or oppressive.
Then there are heavier moments, such as the industrial-sounding rhythm section of Bunker Hill, and the frenetic Michael Jackson Pollock. The latter is interesting, not just because it takes a detour into math-rock, but because it seems to demonstrate how prog and math-rock have roots in jazz. The skittering, cymbal-heavy percussion recalls bebop as it’s augmented by guitar parts that veer between tightly coiled and incredibly loose.
After all of that, the last thing you expect from closing track The Eighteen Transcibles is a folk/post-rock/krautrock amalgam with an ambient banjo breakdown. But maybe that’s exactly what you should expect. The beauty of this album is that it confounds expectation. Owing as much to Miles Davis as they do to Faust, Bly De Blyant seem to wilfully defy definition, and in doing so they establish their own stylistic parameters. It’s not that they are subverting genre, nor that they are unaware of its limit, but that they know exactly how to step beyond them while retaining their footing.’
«Και με τα δύο LP/CD τους οι Bly de Blyant (το “Hindsight Bias” είναι το δεύτερο) δείχνουν πως είναι ικανοί για το «μεγάλο άλμα». Εννοώ για το μεγάλο καλλιτεχνικό άλμα και τούτο… αν δεν το έχουν ήδη πραγματοποιήσει! Αποφασιστικό rock ή περί το rock τρίο οι Νορβηγοί γενικώς Bly de Blyant αποτελούνται εκ των Shahzad Ismaily (συνεργάτης των Marc Ribot, John Zorn κ.ά.) μπάσο, moog, όργανο, μπάντζο, drum–machine, φωνή, HilmarJensson κιθάρες, μπάσο, πιάνο, φωνή και Øyvind Skarbø ντραμς, κρουστά, φωνή (γνωστός μας από τους 1982, ίσως και από αλλού), προτείνοντας μουσικές που έχουν στα μέτρα τους έμφυτη την περιπέτεια, αρνούμενοι να υπερασπιστούν δοκιμασμένες και επιτυχημένες συνταγές. Αυτοσχεδιάζουν ροκάροντας και ροκάρουν αυτοσχεδιάζοντας περισσότερο με την αίσθηση ενός jazz–trio, που έχει όμως ροκ προσανατολισμούς. Μικρά και κάπως μεγαλύτερης διάρκειας θέματα, που αναπτύσσονται μ’ έναν ιδιόμορφο και κάπως «ζαππικό» τρόπο – εκεί που ένα μικρό θέμα, μια μινιατούρα πυροδοτεί ανεξέλεγκτες ηχητικές διαδρομές. Με προγραμματικούς τίτλους που σημαίνουν (“Jiddu” για τον Κρισναμούρτι, “Michael Jackson Pollock” σοφόν το σαφές) και μ’ ένα track το “DEFGHIJKL”, που συνδυάζει middleeastern rock, ανακατεμένο με minimal επαναληπτικά σχήματα, μεγαλοποιημένα μέσα από μια ψυχεδελική φόρτιση, οι Bly de Blyant δίνουν ένα από τα άλμπουμ της χρονιάς. Ποιας χρονιάς; Όποιας να ’ναι…»
***Πολύ σύντομα περισσότερες πληροφορίες…