Marking their tenth anniversary, the Norwegian jazz trio, In The Country, once again lose themselves in a visceral, challenging, landscape. The exploratory soul of their incipient compositions develops slowly and naturally; each melodious entry a tale of two half’s, left to find their true course.
Sunset Sunrise sports an image from the installation/environment artist Carsten Höller’s 2010 SOMA exhibition, suggestive of a contemporary, but perhaps awkward, relationship with the environment. The ensembles own musical style is itself a mix of ‘self-sufficient’, out in the wilderness jazz, (an illusion to their remoteness and isolation from neighbors in the expansive sparsely populated Nordic countryside) and nuanced electronica.
A classical sentiment is made more interesting and in many ways diaphanous by this conjuncture, the broody ambient lapping washes, reverberating mysterious bird-calls, and fluttering metallic filters adding the ‘wilder’ moments to an ‘hyper piano’ led edgy four seasons.
Articulating an sagacious choice of influences – namely Jan Garbarek, Edvard Grieg and Sigur Ros – they progress through a stirring series of instrumentals; sometimes closer in relation to the modernist 60’s jazz of Dave Brubeck, and even Miles Davis, and at other times almost sounding like a guitar empty post-rock band.
Startlingly beatific and heart-meltingly sublime, the ‘Stanley Park’ opus stands out, as does the, pondering turn serious stabbing melodic, title track. If anything In The Country tends to linger on the less magical, ethereal passages, but then when they do lift or punctuate the mood, it’s an often-emotional experience.
Recorded at the sunset Sound Studio in L.A with three-times Grammy winning engineer, Ryan Freeland (credits include Hugh Laurie, Amiee Man, Loudon Wainwright III), the production values are impressive, with every detail allowed space to roam.
The Scandinavian nations have always produced a fair share of the most experimental and accomplished jazz over the last fifty-years, In The Country continue that grand tradition.
Released 11th March 2013