395

Opsvik & Jennings: Commuter Anthems

Troy Collins 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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Tomato Brain
Tomato Brain
The Golden Age Of Steam
Read The Clawed Stone
The Clawed Stone
John Butcher / Thomas Lehn / Matthew Shipp
Read some kind of peace
some kind of peace
Olafur Arnalds
Read Lost Ships
Lost Ships
Elina Duni / Rob Luft
Read Share The Wealth
Share The Wealth
The Nels Cline Singers
Read Spiracle
Spiracle
Mars Williams / Vasco Trilla

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.