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«Basement Music»

Swedish bass player Viktor Skokic has a one of a kind sonic vision. In his debut album as a bandleader, he wanted to embrace his seminal influences – Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson, French modern composer Olivier Messiaen, Swedish metal band Meshuggah and on top of that Balkan folk music that reflect his family roots. To realize such a demanding vision Skokic enlisted an impressive cast of musicians, among them trumpeter Emil Strandberg, reeds player Alberto Pinton and drummer Cristopher Cantillo.

«Basement Music» was crafted in a real basement in Hornstull, Stockholm. Skokic testifies that the challenging recording process was characterized by great care of detail, teaching him to find the needed balance between his daily life and his role as a fresh father and his night life as an active jazz musician and the right focus and reflection for his new compositions. This kind of multitasking was translated into his complex compositions that juggle with few ideas simultaneously. These compositions are anchored by a strong melodic core and playful, song-like structures that owes much to the jazz legacy, but often take sudden, fast shifting detours from these straight-forward narratives and insist on exploring layered harmonious and rhythmic narratives, borrowed from contemporary music.

The distinct seven compositions also explore unorthodox yet liberating compositional strategies. The lyrical  «Två», with the elegant, intimate solo of pianist Rasmos Borg, enriches the legacy of the school of Bill Evans, but the rhythm section of Skokic and Cantillo gravitates into a totally different, modern mode of chamber music. The versatility of the sextet is further stressed in «Ett Tva Tte» with its sudden shift from a joyful folk song to an almost silent drone and back again. «Hoppla» sketches a delicate drama played by reeds players Pinton and Thomas Backman and Strandberg, contrasted by a subversive rhythm section. «Jazz» may capture best Skokic’s inclusive vision, that happily jumps and unites playful, folk song themes with swinging jazz, sudden rhythmic moves and refined, harmonious horizons, beautifully delivered by his sextet.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Emil Strandberg (tp), Thomas Backman (s), Alberto Pinton (s), Rasmus Borg (p), Viktor Skokic (b),  Cristopher Cantillo (dr)

UTGÅNGSOSTINATO – Viktor Skokic Sextett from Viktor Skokic on Vimeo.

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