Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pixel, Golden Years

OK, ready for some song oriented contemporary jazz-rock from some Norwegian musicians? We get jazz with pronounced song-form indie leanings and acoustic rock underpinnings. Presenting Pixel and their third album, Golden Years (Cuneiform Rune 412). (I covered their "We Are All Small" album here. Look it up in the index box above.)The band consists of double bassist and vocalist Ellen Andrea Wang, drummer Jon Audun Baar, trumpeter Jonas Kilmork Vem√ły, and saxophonist Harald Lassen. Ellen convincingly does the lead vocals and everyone contributes their voices for a group vocal sound when needed.

This is instrumentally vibrant music from some definite players. Dig Ms. Wang's bass. She has a real sense. And the horns can go at it, too. Baar plays solid drums. But the exceptional difference here along with the instrumental prowess is an excellent compositional sense both in the horn arrangements and in the songs. They are distinctive and something unexpected in good ways. These are songs well sung and memorable, so that an indie audience can take to them, or anybody for that matter. They stick in the mind.

I am of the opinion that anything goes out there if it is done well. Pixel straddles jazz and song in ways that sound authentic. It is heartfelt and very musical. Perhaps those who do not ordinarily listen to jazz will find this attractive and stimulating. They should. It is progressive musically without being "progressive" in the categorical sense.

If you find the idea of this music interesting as I describe it, I think this one will please you. It did that for me. Listen to these folks! This is art, whatever else you may want to call it.

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