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På skive



Norwegian drummer-composer-bandleader-producer Øyvind Skarbø specializes in creating unorthodox, strange but beautiful music; music that has everything, from 20th-century contemporary composers through free jazz, funk and psychedelic rock to late-70s TV crime series, only to end up inside what sounds like the soundtrack of a mid-90s gaming console. «Dugnad», the sophomore album of his main ensemble, Skarbø Skulekorps, takes this recipe to the extreme and offers even more amplified, electrified deeper and radical exploration, completely outside normal paths of genre and expectation.

The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions forced him to give up the planned studio recording session Skarbø Skulekorps and to ask Sensemble’s musicians to record their parts at home, either alone or in small groups. Then, Skarbø restructured and recomposed these recordings over the course of 6 months, culminating in 8 days of mixing with wizard engineer Jørgen Træen, who also mastered the album.

«Dugnad» is a rollercoaster of 14 completely different pieces that lasts about 30 minutes, inspired and structured like a cassette mixtapes that Skarbø used to listen to as a kid. Somehow, Skarbø manages to weave the seemingly impossible veins into coherent but surprisingly not nostalgic textures that feel fresh and playful. In this packed and untimely, postmodern pastiche of sounds, colors, voices, genres and musical trends, there are few exceptional pieces like “Triple F”, with impressive work of guest guitarist Thomas Dahl, or «PGA The Fruit», with a wild solo of sax player Signe Emmeluth, and the funky «Anti-Crime Computer» with a soulful sax solo of Klaus Holm. These pieces breathe some air into the hyperactive commotion and allow these pieces to blossom, almost in an organic manner and not enhanced by studio wizardry.

But other pieces are highlighted by distinct performances of Skarbø’s all-star cast. Pianist Guoste Tamulynaite introduces melancholic vein on the brief, 10-finger chords of «Central Parker»; Grydeland’s pedal steel colors the title-piece with avant-country music sounds;  Trumpeter Stian Omenå shines on «Murgröna»; and contemporary composer Øyvind Torvund contributes an eerie, sci-fi modular synth sax on the closing piece «40×10». Quite a wild and eccentric ride.

Eyal Hareuveni

Eirik Hegdal (C melody s, as, bs, cl), Signe Emmeluth (as, v), Klaus Holm (cl, as, bs), Stian Omenås (tp), Ivar Grydeland (pedal steel, g), Chris Holm (b), Øyvind Skarbø (dr, perc, vib, g, keys, v), Guoste Tamulynaite (p, synth), Thomas Dahl (el.g), Øyvind Torvund (modular synth), Elia Müftüoglu Skarbø (v)

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