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Jaga Jazzist - The Stix CD (album) cover

THE STIX

Jaga Jazzist

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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4 stars This record is an anchorpint for independent jazzers in europe. Please, is more than jazz/rock, is a very complex yet amazing blend of jazz, electronica, post rock, and acid jazz. Is very unclassifable. KITTY W┌ (the opening track) for example, is so mesmerizing and unique, starting like an old RETURN TO FOREVER song, but morphing into a CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA meets GARY BURTON universe, always using tons of layers of live sounds. As simple (or complex) as that, the whole records slips into your ears, mixing almost naturally loops and sequences of bits and bites with such a little orchestra provided by themselves, from DAY, to SUOMI FINLAND (a rounding name, because SUOMI in finnish is FINLAND, funny...) any way, the only "proper" jazz piece is I COULD HAVE KILLED HIM IN THE SAUNA, (a very in-joke name... ) beacuse the structure of the song is more o less avant-garde oriented, a sort of JIMMY GIUFFRE kind of approach, linking the sounds to DOPPELGANGER, a doppler inspired "icy" piece, driving the senses to despair or excitement, you choose. The journey ends with the title track, an ode to 60's-70's avant-garde composers like ERIC DOLPHY and SUN-RA, with the electronic flabor that is the house tademark. Those who admire MEDESKI, MARTIN AND WOOD, will be very pleased with these record, highly recommended. peace

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Send comments to arqwave (BETA) | Report this review (#141934)
Posted Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
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Prog Metal Team
4 stars The Stix had the unfortunate fate to follow up the band's ingenious breakthrough release A Livingroom Hush which made Jaga Jazzist consider quite a few new possibilities. First off, the direction of this release had to either be settled between going even further with the style that was set previously or to play around and experiment with new directions. The band chose the latter. Secondly, the balance between the jazz and electronica, that was so perfectly calibrated previously, was now targeted more towards new electronica sounds at an ultimate expense of the more prominent jazz melodies. These two new rearrangements of the now acclaimed Jaga Jazzist sound is what makes The Stix a sight disappointment for me.

Granted that A Livingroom Hush was indeed a difficult act to follow, the addition of new industrial beats and funky rhythms didn't really add anything all that interesting to the band's sound. This material will be even more difficult to digest for anyone expecting to hear Jazz Rock/Fusion and instead getting an album filled with compositions that sounds more like something out of the Progressive Electronic genre. But, all criticism aside, this is still a pretty interesting release even though it might have pushed Jaga Jazzist's music a step back. Even if I find many of the added rhythmic enhancements to be a bit to harsh on my ears it's undeniable that the band had put a great deal of effort into these compositions. The final product might be flawed with but compositions like the bouncy Another Day and Reminders, with it's softer brass work, are still great reminders of just how great Jaga Jazzist can be once the band members align their ambitions and work together.

This album serves as a reminder that any attempts at enhancing ones sound while making a follow up release will prove to seem haste and uninspired (hence, the transitional album). Luckily there is always the next release that gives the artist or a band a chance to take another stab at the direction they were pursuing and in Jaga Jazzist's case The Stix is definitely an inferior album compared to the groundwork that was created on A Livingroom Hush. Still it doesn't mean that this release is an automatic throwaway since the creativity that the band shows here makes up for most of its flaws.

***** star songs: Another Day (3:30) Reminders (6:45)

**** star songs: Kitty Wu (4:37) Day (3:08) Suomi Finland (7:29) I Could Have Killed Him In The Sauna (5:33) Aerial Bright Dark Round (5:08) Doppelganer (4:47) The Stix (7:02)

*** star songs: Toxic Dart (5:21)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#284500)
Posted Tuesday, June 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
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Neo Prog Team
3 stars ''A livingroom hush'' and its innovative style became an instant favorite among music fans and the album sold rapidly over 15,000 copies in Norway alone.It won also the Norwegian music award Alarm Prize in 2002 and the same year it was crowned as ''Jazz Album of the Year'' by BBC listeners.Jaga Jazzist then signed a deal with the Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound, following the deal with a huge number of live shows, which were mostly succesful.They draw the interest of Ninja Tune, who came in a deal with Smalltown Supersound to have the rights to release the band's next album.As a result, ''The stix'' was originally released in 2002 on Smalltown Supersound and the following year vinyl and CD editions were released by Ninja Tune.Ivar Johansen and Jorgen Munkeby had been replaced by Andreas Schei (keyboards) and Ketil Einarsen (flute, keyboards, percussion).

Second album by Jaga Jazzist appears to follow a similar path as their debut with lots of Jazz and Electronic elements, although a bit more restrained.The problem is that the tracks are sounding pretty similar, combining jazzy improvisations with modern drum programming and Trip Hop beats, while there are also a fair amount of Avant Garde and Chamber Music traces via the piano and synthesizer lines.''The stix'' lacks the rather more diverse sound of Jaga Jazzist's debut, but the music remains refreshing, clean and charming.You get the feeling that many of its moments were parts of a Soundtrack, having an intense cinematic flavor, and the executions are pretty cool with abstract jams, laid-back ambiences and dominant Electronic showering.Lots of saxes and vibraphone strengthen the jazzy flavor of the album, which is mainly built around wind instruments, music effects and keyboards, offering contemporary instrumentals.The mass of delicate melodies of ''A livingroom hush'' are rather absent with the band choosing a more difficult and complex path in this album, which still contains some pretty adventurous and well-performed music.

A little dissapointment compared to the band's monumental debut.Still ''The stix'' is a fine combination of Jazz, Electronic and Chamber Music with an intense instrumental background, which will please fans of original, contemporary-styled music.Recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1140211)
Posted Saturday, March 01, 2014 | Review Permalink

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