Jaga Jazzist and JR Ewing head over to the UK in early December to play the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival that’s being curated by The Mars Volta.
The All tomorrow’s parties Festival presents its ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ at the Camber Sands Holiday Centre on Dec. 2-4. The event is curated by The Mars Volta and Norwegian contributions to the unique festival include acts Jaga Jazzist and JR Ewing. The festival is built up around a unique concept which involves major acts inviting favourite bands.
The line up is impressive - a few examples: The Mars Volta, Diamanda Galás, The Kills, Cinematic Orchestra, Acid Mothers Temple, Blonde Redhead, Lydia Lunch and Dungen to name a few of the acts performing at the ATP.
ATP was started in 1999 by London concert Promoters Barry Hogan and Helen Cottage of Foundation. The idea behind All Tomorrow's Parties is to invite a curator be that a musician, artist, or writer to choose a selection of bands/performers that reflect their record collection or people that they feel influenced by or connected to. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth perfectly described the ATP Festival as 'the ultimate mix tape'. The ATP Festival is now held at two locations, the first and original being a Pontins Holiday Camp, Camber Sands, on England's south coast and the second being held in Los Angeles, California.
The UK Edition has now been going for 4 years and has had a very diverse range of curators, that include Mogwai (2000), Tortoise (2001), Shellac (2002) and Autechre (2003) who have in turn forced the line-ups to be completely fresh year after year, ensuring that the event re-invents itself rather than be a novelty that wears thin over the course of time.
Previous UK line-ups have included artists such as Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Public Enemy, Kool Keith, Sun Ra Arkestra, Television, lambchop, Bonnie Prince Billy, Smog, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Sigur Ros, Sonic Youth plus many many more.
In 2001 All Tomorrow's Parties expanded to the hotter and sunnier climate of Los Angeles, California. The event was curated by New York's favourite's Sonic Youth and the line-up boasted an impressive line-up of Aphex Twin, Big Star, The Boredoms, Stereolab, Sleater-Kinney, Cecil Taylor plus others.
The ATP LA project is continuing in Southern California but has been renamed ATP Pacific as the new location is now onboard and off the famous Queen Mary Ship in Long Beach, California, which is approximately a 45 minutes, drive from Los Angeles.
Ever since their beginnings Jaga have been a band who have searched for something different - without any interest in the latest trends, with no concern for who is on the cover of which magazine, this ten piece collective from Norway have focused their efforts on evolving a unique sound which can collectively express their musical ideas. It's a quest that's been going on for a decade now. One which may be about the reach fruition.
Jaga Jazzist's first album ("Jævla Jazzist Grete Stitz") was released in 1994, when the group's youngest members were still only fourteen. It was, they have said, "an album about trying without fear of failing" and as such has served as a manifesto for much of what has followed since. It's in the nature of such a large collective, that development takes time, and although their second album, "Magazine" (1998), was critically-acclaimed on home turf, it wasn't until 2001's "A Livingroom Hush" that the ideas they had hinted at in previous work really began to blossom. Word of Jaga began to spread across Europe, tours followed, and tracks like "Animal Chin" and "Lithuania" soon became classic live moments. Seven years of playing together resulted in blistering performances, likened to witnessing a controlled explosion, the musicians constantly threatening to lose control of the music but only using this apparent chaos to take things ever higher. No fear of falling here.
In keeping with the band's sonic adventurism, "The Stix" saw Jaga embrace more fully the electronic elements which they dabbled with on "A Livingroom Hush", This was Jaga Jazzist`s take on electronic music, an album characterized by harsh, intricate rhythm, drummer Martin Horntveth often battling it out with drum boxes and pre-programmed beats. The results has everyone from Observer Music Monthly to the Mars Volta buzzing.
After heavily touring, the time came for the next chapter in the Jaga Jazzist history, "What We Must". After months spent on writing new material, the band ripped it all up, went into an isolated studio out in the Norwegian woods and recorded the demo now known as the Spydeberg Session. Put down in one take in one day, it was a breakthrough moment for the group. A sound that was closer to their live sound than ever before. The band began to whisper about their rock album. But note that "their". This was a kaleidoscopic take on rock stylings, rolling from early 90s British shoegazer guitar pop to 70s prog rock, all shot through with Jaga's own unique logic.
After testing the new material on the road, they returned to the studio and used the Spydeberg Session as the basis of the record which became "What We Must," perhaps the most radical development so far in their career. At heart of this collective is a restless soul, going in many directions at the same time, but always going forward. Fast. The band always pushing their boundaries, both personal and musical. That is why they are impossible to categorize. And that's why they're special. Jaga is something natural and beautiful. A necessity. For both them and us.
They do what they must. It goes without saying that they do it without fear.
Listen to and download Jaga Jazzist releases here.
JR Ewing has through since their humble beginning in 1998 gone from being an underground sensation, to in 2005 having turned into an unstoppable force of ambitious people pushing the parameters of what punkrock supposedly is. Throwing all dogma aside, the band has ventured from being inspired by early San Diego / Californiabands like Antioch Arrow and Drive Like Jehu, to along the way embracing an including a much wider range of styles and music. Their ability to incorporate sounds and inspiration from the last 40 years of musical history, without ever letting go of the pure intensity and energy that their music is based around, has contributed into making JR Ewings new record Maelstrom a landmark for modern punk.
Through relentless touring with bands like Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Mars Volta, The Blood Brothers, The Locust and Turbonegro, JR Ewing has steadily built a reputation from being one of the utter most vital sources of European rock as of today. Live is where their music comes into full form, and their explosive performance is void of safety and full of uncontrollable intensity.
Since their 2000 debut Calling In Dead, which now stands as a hardcore classic, through the sonically explosive Ride Paranoia in 2003, released on The Mars Voltas Gold Standard Laboratories label, to their epic and ambitious Maelstrom, JR Ewing has always pushed the envelopes on both themselves and their listeners. Singer Andreas Tylden has been mentioned to be vocally reminiscent of everything from Jon Anderson to Aaron Montaigne, drummer Kenneth Lamond to be rhythmically inspired by everything from Keith Moon to Dave Lombardo, and combined with the dual guitar-excess of Erlend Mokkelbost and Håkon Mella with their very melodic and percussive style of playing, as well as the pure drive of bassplayer Petter Snekkestad, JR Ewing are in lack of other words unstoppable.
JR Ewings new album Maelstrom tells the story of their darkest year on this planet, losing both good friends and familymembers in 2004, as well as portraying the confusion and insecurities life brings for young people in big cities. Its a brutally honest record done with the intention to channel emotions towards bigger and better things, and create a memorable piece of music.
Maelstrom has already received raving feedback by the press and fans, and JR Ewing will continue on their mission to bring people an alternative to a lot of the music out there with less noble intentions.
”Maelstrom” available through Plastic Head/Golf Records (UK) from November 14th in the UK, and through Motor Music in mainland Europe from December 2nd. ”Ride Paranoia” Available through Gold Standard Laboratories (Distribution - Mordam) “Calling In Dead” & “The Perfect Drama” available through Coalition Records (Distribution - Mordam).
Listen to and download JR Ewing's 'Maelstrom' here.