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Nils Petter Molvaer - Khmer CD (album) cover

KHMER

Nils Petter Molvaer

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.09 | 15 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Nils Petter Molvaer's debut is similar to other freshman efforts from his chosen nu jazz/acid jazz and post-punk/post-DJ jazz genre. Hampered by a lack of technology and resources, Molvaer is big on ascetics and ideas and manages to put together a very nice mellow psychedelic groove based jazz album without all the expensive toys it usually takes to make music like this. This is also far from your typical paint-by-numbers trip hop wallpaper muzak. Molvaer's melodies and solos are heartfelt and deep, channeling the mysterious passion of late 60s Miles without sounding like faux copies.

North European nu jazz has often been described as a synthesis of Jon Hassell's 4th world experiments, Miles' ethereal productions and modern psychedelic trip-hop/acid jazz. If that is so, than those elements describe this album to a T. To that thumbnail description I would also add that Molvaer's European ascetic brings to this album an almost goth like somberness that sometimes drifts into post-punk industrial eeriness, a sound that may seem on the cold side for those who like the kinetic urban sound of acid jazz from the states and elsewhere.

On the negative side, this album's lack of resources and technology reveal themselves in the simplistic drum loops used throughout the album. Most of the loops used are edited at four beats and are used without any variations, breaks or effects. These short looped beats sound dated by today's standards and were probably already a little dated when this album came out in 1997. The overall sound of this album reminds me of early efforts by fellow psychedelic groove meisters Jah Wobble and Bill Laswell, they too were big on ideas but short on cash and technology at first.

On the plus side Molvaer's playing and arrangements are excellent as is the playing of the various psychedelic guitarists who contribute. This CD is highly recommended for fans of psychedelic nu jazz.

js (Easy Money) | 3/5 |

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