Sometimes the title of an album offers only a glimpse to the essence of the art form. Juxtaposition may describe the the studio work of three, sometimes four Oslo-based improvisers – vocal artist Agnes Hvizdalek, bass and electronics player Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard (known from the bands Monkey Plot and ICH BIN N!NTENDO), DIY percussionist and electronics player Utku Tavil and vocal artist Natali Abrahamsen Garner, who joins in two pieces – but hardly capture the extreme, brutal atmosphere of this recording. No doubt, this is the most radical album in the catalogue of the experimental label-musicians collective Nakama.
The seven pieces of Juxtaposition offer uncompromising, brutal juxtapositions-collisions of various timbres and sonorities, human, electronic,manipulated, mutated and processed ones, all performed in an egalitarian, non-hierarchical spirit. These collisions are comprised of cryptic chants, abrupt feedbacks, disturbing noises, tortured screams and joyful bird calls, layered in chaotic, urgent soundscapes that push constantly to demanding and even more aggressive extremes.
Each of of the four musicians brought to Juxtaposition sessions his own idiosyncratic vocabularies and approaches. Hvizdalek deconstructed the human language(s) into fast strings of otherworldly syllables and consonants. Nergaard manipulated the sound of his electric bass to a series of feedback loops and sinewaves, incorporating analog and digital electronics, and later also did the mixing. Tavil used audio routings and feedback systems for his loud electronic sounds and Garner colored the dense collisions with delicate vocals and electronics.
The listening experience to Juxtaposition is a kind of a sudden jump on a ghost train. There are certain merits to such a wild ride that guarantees to kick us out of our comfort zones, far away as possible. Nothing is obvious, stable or has – or even attempts to look for – a reason. But these chaotic, deafening soundscapes may capture a profound essence of our times, times when basic truths and beliefs are shredded by greedy politicians and corrupt international corporations. At such times we can learn again the importance of an egalitarian, social communication, and most of all of the human voice, as an essential mean of communication. And indeed, the voices of Hvizdalek and Garner, weird as they sound, are the only sounds that radiates some signs of hope in such confusing times. These voices are the only sounds that survive this excruciating journey, still humming and chirping at the end of the last piece, «Trost».
Agnes Hvizdalek (v), Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard (elb, elec, field rec), Utku Tavil (snare drum, no-input mixer, sampler); Natali Abrahamsen Garner (v, elec.)