Week 73: “Swedenborgske Rom” by Jaga Jazzist


As a nationality, Norwegians have the unmatched ability to look rugged and sensitive at the same time.

Case in point: 9-piece experimental extravaganza Jaga Jazzist. Show this photo of the band to a friend, and they would probably believe you if you said, “check out this biker gang I ran into at Denny’s”. But at the same time, your friend would be just as likely to believe you if you said, “this is the poetry-reading group I’m meeting with on Tuesday”. Or maybe, “Take a look at this…my dad’s joining a flash mob troupe that specializes in Viking invasion re-enactments”.

Regardless of their appearance, Jaga Jazzist produces textured, frenetic, funky, and occasionally beautiful music. This song, from their 2005 album, “What We Must”, is a great example of the variety of sounds they produce, from poetic contemplation to Viking-like epicness.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The bass clarinet. It’s so quiet and recorded so closely that you can almost hear the player’s embouchure.

2. The choir at 1.49. Light and airy, a nice contrast to the low brass and clarinet that open the song.

3. The arpeggiated piano that begins at 3.30. It leads an extended and dramatic build up that becomes huge enough to make your Norwegian-style beard blow in the wind.

Recommended listening activity:

Going somewhere you’ve never been.

Buy it here.