457

Mungolian Jet Set: Beauty Came to Us in Stone

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Mungolian Jet Set: Beauty Came to Us in Stone It's only in performance, that Paal "Strangefruit" Nyhus's true value can truly be appreciated. Yes, he's a turntablist (purists can prefix that with "dreaded," though they'd be grossly mistaken), but he's also much more. He's a sound sculptor who, like Brian Eno and John Cage, finds music around every corner. He possesses an extensive record library, from which to source some of his sounds, which would shame even the most pathological collector. Over the past decade, this Norwegian sonic explorer and manipulator has provided real-time soundscaping, enriching projects including guitarist Eivind Aarset's Connected (Jazzland, 2004), and trumpeter/Nu Jazz progenitor Nils Petter Molvaer's Streamer: Live (Sula, 2004).

An integral part of the extended Punkt family, Nyhus makes it clear that music comes from many sources, and not only conventional instruments. He's also demonstrated that real-time sonic manipulation can be an improvisational premise as exciting as any other. The debut of Mungolian Jet Set's (the moniker for his group as a leader) Beauty Came to Us in Stone was released in 2006, but still warrants a serious look, as it's a groundbreaking album that, in a different time, could have been considered a classic.

It is a classic, despite its relatively limited availability; a series of nine interconnected sonic collages providing a cornucopia of settings, textures, grooves and ambiences. The credits reveal that Nyhus isn't giving away many secrets, despite the participation of nearly twenty artists known to those following the contemporary Norwegian scene, amongst them Jazzland head Bugge Wesseltoft, Punkt co-artistic directors Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, Scorch Trio's Paal Nilssen-Love and sonic manipulator Knut Sævik, who performed with Nyhus and Peter Baredn at one of Punkt '06's live remixes.

Rhythms underscore much of the continuous Beauty Came to Us in Stone, but they're far from solely being in the techno-beat arena with which musicians like Nyhus are often unjustly affiliated. There's no shortage of found sounds; still, "When You're in Need (is a Constant Thing in Change)" features a marvelous piano solo by Haavard Wiik over a sumptuous Latin-esque groove taken to new places through sampled vocals, Roger Ludvigsen's slide guitar, Richard Thomas' in-the-weeds flute and Wesseltoft's palette-enriching Fender Rhodes.

That Beauty Came to Us in Stone's genre is not definable, despite markers from a wide range of recognizable styles, speaks to a philosophy that music is a broad and infinitely ranged spectrum. Finding ways to twist this musical continuum, so that seemingly disparate styles can comfortably co- exist as if they've been doing so all along, is what makes Beauty Came to Us in Stone such a thoroughly compelling masterpiece of sonic montage. Were Miles Davis alive today, Nyhus may well have been a recruit. Meanwhile, for those interested in how technology can be organically applied, Beauty Came to Us in Stone is not just an album that should be heard, but one that absolutely must be heard.

Track Listing: Close Encounters of the Mung Kind; Inexpired Pyro: What Took You So Long?; Slaptops; Navigator; The Ghost of Cauldron M/ I Cannot Live in Sin; Jet Setter; The Ancient and the Innocent; Technon Thai; When You're in Need (is a Constant Thing in Change).

Personnel: Reidar Skar: translation (1), grainuating (2), mediator (3), programming (5), lacking cpu (6), leaking cpu (7), Thai the Techno (8); Paul "Strangefruit" Nyhus: lost in translation (1), vinyl challenging (2, 5), in the shower (3), sound sources and backing schlong (4), Bermuda triangling (6), same old stories (7), Oedipus complexity (8), sound archives and autotuned (9); Haavard Wiik: piano (2, 3), hijacker (6), gravemeister (7), Hapiak piano and Fender Rhodes (8), riddles (9); Paal Nilssen-Love: fireworks (2), sticks, stones 'n bloodwork (6), caverattler (7), chained (8); Jan Bang: oracler, the rhythm constrictor (3), bestest button- pressing dude in the world (4); Bugge Wesseltoft: piano (3), Prophet 5 (3), Turkish peppa (3), cosmopianotan (4), bubbl Rhodes (6), doomthemer (7), Fender Rhodes (9); Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten: bass (3, 4, 9), triple bass (6), tonguespeaker (7); Endre Kirkesola: bass (3); Rolf Kristensen: acoustic guitar (3); Erik Honor

Title: Beauty Came to Us in Stone | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Jazzland Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Departure CD/LP/Track Review Departure
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2017
Read I Know Who I Am CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read With You In Mind CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Doug Collette
Published: July 26, 2017
Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Southern Avenue" CD/LP/Track Review Southern Avenue
by James Nadal
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Irmãos De Fé" CD/LP/Track Review Irmãos De Fé
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Beatbox Sax" CD/LP/Track Review Beatbox Sax
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Serious Play" CD/LP/Track Review Serious Play
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Eastern Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review Eastern Smiles
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Then and Now" CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 2, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!