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.
"I'm really fond of this band called Jaga Jazzist. Its more on the electronic sounding and dancier side of things but its all people really playing. I'm really into things that make me wanna dance... when I heard it, it was really exciting" (Omar Rodriguez, Mars Volta in NME on "my new favourite band")
Jazzist's have become something of a musical phenomenon in Norway since they started 19 years ago. Not only is this 9 piece
instrumental band regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative in Norway, the members are all involved in other musical projects and have in one way or another contributed to almost every significant recording to come out of that part of the world in the last few years...more