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    Popofoni [coll] – [Prisma Records]

    popofoni
    So first of all, let me say I want Prisma Records to play
    Foothill College’s Art Center! The label that brought us
    a recent killer collection of songs over the years and past
    the boundaries with a strange intersection between celebrity
    Sonja Henie and underground artists, returns with another
    compelling collection.

    The Popofoni-project was initiated after a heated debate on Haagen
    Ringnes??? TV-show ??pen Post in autumn 1969, which dealt with the
    subject popmusic. Standing on one side you found the defenders of
    pop, an actress, a comedian a record producer and record label
    owner Arne Bendiksen who defended his 1969 Eurovision winner
    “Oj oj oj s?? glad jeg skal bli.”

    In the other corner was the ???cultural elite??? represented by a
    literature researcher and pianist. Both sides expressed grave
    concerns about that their opponent???s music impaired their
    listeners abilities. During the broadcast, Grannemann performed
    a parody of an avant garde-composition which included throwing
    dishes and yelling, with direct reference to composer Arne Nordheims
    music.

    The eventual response came in the form of this collection, including
    Arne Nordheim and five other artists creating compositions to
    venture into the wonderworld between pop and avant garde, hence
    Popofoni.

    Five artists, four sides of vinyl, six songs. So you get expansive
    slabs of jazz twisted beauty that on length alone surrender any
    chance of pop credit. Instead, trading beer commercials for mind
    music films.

    Gunnar Sonstevold’s “Arnold” walks some private eye bass through
    prog rock fire and some free jazz blasts from Jan Garbarek’s tenor.
    The detective vibe takes a more chilling horror turn with the
    breathy vocalizations of Karin Krog, a complicated and wild ride.

    Ms. Krog returns in a reverb glacier of sound on Nordheim’s “Morgenraga”
    shivering her voice over icy reeds and skittering strings. Other
    worldy weirdness, but mostly a static piece despite Arild
    Andersen efforts to warm himself with some bass runs. Next up
    Nordheim’s “Solar Plexus” starts like a Nordic nod to Sun Ra,
    reverb’d vocals and drums, Krog actually rises to a stellar scream
    the bass is gravity heavy, Garbarek’s synth is in a different
    galaxy, synth squiggles and carillon chimes come closer in orbit.
    A lost radio transmission waltzes in between gunfire and space dust
    rushes before the cosmic flush. Wow!

    Alfred Janson’s “Valse Triste” is the killer for me, splicing what
    I might guess are snippets from the famed defaming talk show
    but with this big punchy music, that stops on a beat to let a
    different samples that have their own sing-song rhythm to them
    (“Wilkommen, Wilkommen” and a guy quoting “To Be or Not To Be”
    among them). The song between the comercial breaks is catchy
    in its own right, is it an interpolation of the Eurovision hit
    or something out of the Burt Bacharach songbook but keeps
    pushing boundaries and evolving over the side long piece. Drums
    not to be missed, tape manipulation too. Really fascinating.

    The double discs conclude with two pieces, Kare Kolberg’s weird
    yet wisftul piece, drifting in a haunting voice, some parts sung in
    English, others in the high tongue of pain and fleeting flute, finds
    it’s way to a hypnotic close. Then Terje Rypdal’s dark, murky bass
    seeking into almost baroque slow-mo squonk “Episode.” Another
    eruption of drums before the bass walks off the set.

    All of the pieces on the album have their evolution, and while
    some touch the jazz wire more heavily than others, it’s tough to
    call this a jazz album per se. But I’m happy to refer to it as
    “pop” music for the KFJC listeners 40+ years after its inception,
    while I’m okay with a catchy jingle, it’s Norway or the Highway
    when it comes to the work of Jansson, Kolberg and Nordheim here.

    To be fair, here’s the Eurovision trigger

    But, c’mon…
    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on November 13, 2013 at 11:21 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
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