Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Opsvik & Jennings: Commuter Anthems

395

Opsvik & Jennings: Commuter Anthems

By

Sign in to view read count
Opsvik & Jennings: Commuter Anthems
Commuter Anthems is the sophomore follow up to Floyel Files (NCM East, 2005), the debut recording of the duo of Norwegian-born bassist Eivind Opsvik and guitarist Aaron Jennings, originally hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma. While their previous effort was promising enough, it sometimes drifted a little too close to becoming pleasant aural wallpaper. This release shows remarkable growth and compositional maturity, demonstrating intricate writing, recording and arranging skills.

Relying less on virtuosic jazz improvisation than composing creative instrumental music with pop smarts, Opsvik and Jennings embark on a cinematic journey that is equal parts experimental folk, cutting-edge electronica and dreamy Americana. Using studio manipulation and overdubbing, the pair dabbles in a vast array of instruments and approaches, lending an orchestral sheen to the session.

With a rich combination of available textures, the duo uses acoustic guitars, banjo and upright bass with pared-down trap kits and clattering percussion for the structural basis of many of the tunes. Augmenting the core song forms with squirrelly electronic textures, atmospheric drones, shimmering vibes and mellifluous brass, they reveal melodies every bit as catchy as those penned by indie rock heavy weights like Tortoise and the Sea & Cake.

Inspired by their contemporaries, the title track sounds like an outtake from a vintage Gastr Del Sol record. The buoyant lead melody is driven by a soaring theremin as a rousing horn section ascends over percolating layers of sound and a ramshackle, rubato rhythm section. The Chicago influence continues on "Port Authority," a bright, bouncy number driven by acoustic guitar, soothing wordless vocals, glitchy software hiccups and a driving bossa-nova beat; recalling Sam Prekop at his most experimental.

Exploring the middle ground between the experimental and the accessible, Opsvik and Jennings embody a Brooklyn-based sensibility that gives Chicago based post-rockers a run for their money.

Track Listing

: The Last Country Village; Silverlake; Commuter Anthem; Wrong Place Right Time; Lorinda Sea; Port Authority; Ways; I'll Scrounge Along; The Pendler; Apology/Goodbye.

Personnel

Eivind Opsvik: double bass, electric bass, drums, percussion, piano, organ, theremin, vocals, software; Aaron Jennings: electric and acoustic guitars, lap steel, banjo, concertina, vocals, software and electronics; Ben Gerstein: trombone (3, 5, 9); Rich Johnson: trumpet (3, 9); Peter Opsvik: flute (4).

Album information

Title: Commuter Anthems | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Rune Grammofon


Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Solidarity
Zach Rich
Catharsis
Michiel Stekelenburg
A Canadian Songbook
Ernesto Cervini

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.