Filosofer is a new group of the ever-growing roster of the new and fertile Nakama Records, featuring an unorthodox instrumentation – two double bass players, label founder Christian Meaas Svendsen and Erlend Albertsen, who also doubles on tenor sax on one piece, two violinists, Håkon Aase and Adrian Løseth Waade, plus DJ-sampler-laptop-synthesizer player Bendik Baksaas. Svendsen collaborated before with Baksaas on Mopti’s Bits & Pieces (Jazzland, 2015) and with Waade in the group Nakama debut album. Aase playing won international attention on Thomas Strønen’s Time Is A Blind Guide (ECM, 2015) and he collaborates with Waade as a duo. Waade plays in the genre-binding Skadedyr outfit.
Despite the group title that refer to Norwegian name of people who spend most of their time pondering, the music on its debut album «landet er gitt oss» («The land is given to us» in Norwegian) is immediate and accessible, all recorded live in different locations around Oslo during 2015. The first and longest piece, the 15-minutes «vi er universet» («we are the universe»), ironically using vocal samples that inform the imminent end of planet Earth and the only survival option of its inhabitants is abandonment, do not sound dark or melancholic at all. It often sound as scaled-down, chamber-chaotic version of Sun Ra Astro Infinity Arkestra improvising on pieces from Strange Strings (Atavistic, 2007) on some faraway planet. Bakaas sonic samples integrate wisely with the string quartet, expanding the sonic spectrum and coloring it with prog-rock distant spacy-atmospheric tones.
The second piece, «den ene i forandring» («the one in flux»), featuring Albertsen playing the tenor sax and guest pianist Kjetil Jerve, is a more experimental-free-improvised one, relying on a delicate, searching interplay that patiently accumulate tension and power, suddenly collided by sonic samples that spice it with Eastern-tinged sounds and gospel-pop sensibility. The last, title-piece, featuring guest vibes player Rob Waring, cements the unique strings-based, drone interplay in a surreal, futuristic urban atmosphere, stressing again the crucial contribution of Bakaas and his clever choice of samples.
Provocative, highly inventive and always arresting.
Håkon Aase ( violin); Adrian Løseth Waade (violin); Erlend Albertsen ( double bass, tenor saxophone); Christian Meaas Svendsen (double bass); Bendik Baksaas (synth, sampler, computer). Guests: Kjetil Jerve (piano, 2); Rob Waring (vibraphone, 3).