With Blackjazz (Indie Recordings, 2009), the transformation of Norway's Shining from metal-tinged jazz fusion into something, well, other was complete. An ear-shattering combination of death metal/grindcore growls, crunching guitars, John Bonham-style drums reinvented for the new millennium, outrageous virtuosity and progressive rock complexities, this brainchild of guitarist/saxophonist/vocalist Jørgen Munkeby--here, as with everyone in the group, referred to by last name only--suggests a new kind of expressionism, one that's predicated on a spirit of jazz but with almost no direct references to its longstanding tradition. Almost, because when Munkeby picks up his saxophone and starts to blow over ...read more
Few groups have been as inherently frightening from the get-go as art rock progenitor King Crimson, in particular tracks like Cirkus," from Lizard (DGM Live, 1970), The Devil's Triangle," from In the Wake of Poseidon (DGM Live, 1970) and, perhaps most iconically, 21st Century Schizoid Man," the opening track to the group's opening salvo, In the Court of the Crimson King (DGM Live, 1969). It's no coincidence that Norway's Shining has chosen to end Blackjazz with an even more terrifying, 21st Century update to 21st Century Schizoid Man," demonstrating Crimson's profound influence over the past four decades, but here taken ...read more
It's hard to imagine, based on Grindstone, that Norwegian group Shining started out as a post-bop jazz quartet. While fellow Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer's current electronica/ambient-based music seems a far cry from his early days with the similarly post-bop Masqualero, there's still evidence of lineage. Shining has virtually nothing to tie it to its jazzier origins. Anyone who heard its Rune Grammofon debut, In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster, knows that Shining is, in fact, more of an art rock collective now, with a multiplicity of references at work.
Grindstone is not for the faint-at-heart. ...read more
In a radical departure from their previous jazzier albums, Norwegian's Shining have headed for progressive or art rock territory. While the press release talks about bridging the gap between classic King Crimson and ECM lyricism," there are far more influences at play, including Rock In Opposition bands like Henry Cow and more ambient noise groups like Supersilent. The result, In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster, is an extraordinarily challenging record. While there are elements of groups like King Crimson to be found--most notably in the nuevo metal of Gortex Weather Report"--the record is so extreme, so ...read more