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The Ecologic by Kim Svein Johannesen Magus Furu

Guitarist Kim Johannesen and clarinetist Svein Magus Furu travel far beyond the borders of jazz on this release. The music they create here would certainly be more at home in the side room of an art exhibit than a jazz club; it defies the traditional reliance on interacting tonalities and relies almost completely on texture.

Parallels could be drawn to John Zorn's soundtrack to the Ken Jacobs film Celestial subway Lines; Johannesen and Furu seem to be sampling from a similar sonic palette (the scraping of wound guitar strings, the sound of a clarinet reed on the brink dysfunction); but their point of departure is very different. The tracks, with names like: "Room to Grow (Vegetables)", "Ants Marching", and "Battle of the Species", seem to be musical illustrations, with intimations of the grit of the dirt, the clicking of an oversize ants mandibles, or the sound of millions of microscopic legs marching. Little is done to separate the tracks, and the album ends with Furu holding the same quavering note with which he sets it off. This brings the album full circle, like the ecosystem which it describes.

Music like this begs the age old question: what is jazz? Or better yet, what is music? The music here has very little connection to any type of musical tradition, but it defines its subject matter far better than many famous jazz concept albums have in the past. An attentive listener cannot leave this album without having a picture in his or her head of what the players are trying to express: images of a microscopic world that we are in constant contact with, but rarely think about.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Kim Svein Johannesen Magus Furu
  • CD Title: The Ecologic
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Creative Sources Recordings
  • Tracks: Room to Grow (vegetables), Jack and the Beanstalk, Microkosmos, Ants Marching, Forest Flower, Battle of the Species, Life on Mars
  • Musicians: Kim Johannesen (guitar), Svein Magus Furu (clarinet)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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