Artist: Thou Sonic Friend
Keywords: european jazz jazz avant-garde contemporary jazz jazz scandinavian Copenhagen
Label: Barefoot Records
For some crazy reason I had to see the video above first, giving me an instant upfront and seemingly super close encounter with the musicians responsible for the music on this album, yet also giving me the feeling as if i had been on a ship that gets tossed around on high waves, making me evidentially slightly sea sick while at the same time determent enough to find out what this is all about. I was holding on to the railings of the ship trying not to get all too green!
My first impression (other than that of feeling as gravity was failing me) was that these musicians dressed up very nicely, very happy and individualistic as they played their beloved instruments in a experimental session in which everything seemed to go along as long as they (the players and their instruments) respected each other. The most wonderful sight to see ( the one that truthfully grabbed me) was that of the one person who brought the vocal sounds to the (what sounded like) ‘improvised’ music. It felt like a instant new language, but also as if the artist responsible uses her voice as a unusual corresponding instrument, more than what you would think a traditional singer would do.
And with this impression I pressed play on the album, getting greeted with ‘there can be music’ which was actually sounding immediately quite hilarious. Like rolling into a strange cartoonish weirdness in which a odd sounding character was stealing the spotlight by telling a story about being trapped one day between the platforms on the central station of Amsterdam. After a while of toe curling sensation the oddball character settled in to actually become a nice element that interacted lovingly with the real life instruments who sounded nice and gentle and not at all as if they belonged in a Betty Boop cartoon of madness. I was glad that the music turned into a smooth and happy ending as listening to a song dominated by the same kind of voices that I would create when having my hand deeply tucked away in a sock puppet while entertaining a two year old toddler was of course a lot of recognisable fun, but also slightly worrying.
What followed was Small Blue Box which was the recognisable music as I heard and seen in the video clip. It’s funny as just listening to the music alone (without the video) gives a nice other impression. Here there was no reason to be Sea sick, a great thing as now I could feel more steady and focused to hear the music instead of repeating the ‘please don’t puke’ mantra in my head. Yep, listening to the guitar and clarinet setting up a nice warmth for the vocalic lunatic to expressively express herself in delicately mad ways felt really nice. The interaction was like listening to slow paced cartoon jazz in which the vocals decided if things would be beautiful or pecking like a cartoon chicken that was classically depicted as a doer of human things. The music was all gone before I could really realise it, so there is a slight sensation of leaving me with the impressive feeling of being peckish for more.
Luckily there was more, a work that was a bit over eight minutes… something that took everything a bit more relaxed, sounding at first as if we had been lowered down in to a fancy bubble bath of care. Things came across pretty over here, as if the instrumentalists had setup a spa for us tired characters to sit in and feel slightly more relaxed and at eased in. But of course within eight minutes there is plenty of space to go berserk but no, I can guarantee you that the trio responsible for this music all stayed nicely in their lane to bring a lovely moment that will make us all feel pampered, relaxed and nicely soothed.
‘Ignorance is gliss’ comes up next, sounding as if the gates of lunacy have been opened once again, all nicely done in a peaceful pace while sceneries of bouncing farm animals, oinking piglets jumping upside down and hummingbirds had become a little loopy. Things are crazily nice as they are pulled out and in, up and down and squeezed back in. After that there is ‘le grande plasair’ which offers us words in French. Spoken like we are listening to a Amelie character, charming and exciting while tones of music seemingly decorate the environment sporadically with a sensible warmth.
There is more music on this release, a thing that appears to be the case with many albums that are out and about. This track seems to have a danish name, Inbagte Isbjørne, I can’t be bothered to translate but music wise it also seemed to have steered away from the cartoonish craziness in order to make way for a relaxed and all grown up adult atmosphere. A thing that seems to continue in the sensible sounding ‘ Kári’s Prayer’ which takes things to a serious level, with a voice expressing a power of expression that might want to make you feel slightly confused as with music like this pretty, why didn’t it be the first opening of this release, probably luring in the great crowds that love a kind hearted atmosphere and passionate vocal abilities at work.
Not that I don’t enjoy funny cartoon music but hearing this beauty over here makes me think that this might actually be the most beautifulest piece on earth, or at least the most gorgeous one as it had been planted on this album. Although the last track ‘never signed a contract’ also overflows in great and calming beauty. It makes it almost hard to believe that this is done by the same musicians that started this release off so insanely. It is truly wonderful what had been established here with easy nice in the ears vocals, honest sounding emotion that feels very heartfelt and together in beauty. The contrast is seemingly huge from the music at the beginning of ‘cinemateria’, not that it wasn’t fun, but as heartfelt and exposed and pretty in sincerity as here in these last tracks? No way! They sound like two different bands, which are so different from each other that one might be attracting and extracting complete different audiences, making me sincerely wanting to say that I wished that this album was split up in two EPs; one oddly and weirdly like a hen party in cuckoo cartoon land and the other one full of meaningful fulfilment and sincerely hearted beauty. I’m feeling it!
Two sides of the same coin, but oh so shockingly different! It’s like as if one side had a picture of Daffy Duck and on the flip side a picture of the goddess of truth! So don’t get fooled if you are only interested in one thing, sit through it and find the side that you enjoy or maybe stick with them both!