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Vinyl LP, CD. Rune Grammofon.
9/10 Mike Staff review, 06 February 2014
I'm an unashamed fan of all things Rune Grammofon and particularly that heavy Norsk jazz-prog they bring out so much of, so it's no exaggeration to say I'm enjoying the shit out of this debut album (I think) by Krokofant. In fact I got so carried away with enjoying it that I forgot to write this review, so it's getting a second spin. I like this an awful lot. It's totally indulgent jazz-rock madness which runs the gamut from free splatter intensity to repetitive jazz-prog like a fast'n'funky Van Der Graaf Generator/King Crimson hybrid, right through to some more restrained and thoughtful work towards the end.
In fact structurally the whole album seems to deflate as it progresses, starting anarchic and noisy and finishing up in more tasteful territory, but this trio weave their way through all manner of barely restrained speed-jazz chaos in the process. Although the personnel is different (guitar/drums/sax rather than keys/drums/bass) there are lots of places here where they remind me a lot of Elephant9, certainly this is music which couldn't come from anywhere but Norway, with Axel Skalstad's galloping sticksmanship often bringing to mind their Torstein Lofthus, mixing some insanely technical jazz chops and free-expressive cheekiness with a pounding, heavily groovy rock style.
Guitarist Tom Hasslan and Saxophonist Jorgen Mathisen have no trouble keeping up with him either, the exception to the album's overall slowing-down is penultimate track 'EJS', which sees Hasslan and Skalstad locked together in some ridiculous speed-riffing that brings to mind Orthrelm or early Hella, quite ridiculous. There's a pretty heroic guitar solo in an earlier track too, but more often than not Mathisen's sax takes the melodic lead with playful gusto reminiscent of Psicomagia's Brian Ellis. Super. I'm very impressed.
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Krokofant by Krokofant. Vinyl LP. RLP3154.
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Krokofant by Krokofant. CD. RCD2154.
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