Home » Jazz Articles » Dark Star Safari: Dark Star Safari

9
Album Review

Dark Star Safari: Dark Star Safari

By

Sign in to view read count
Dark Star Safari: Dark Star Safari
The birth of the quartet Dark Star Safari (named after a 2003 Paul Theroux travel book) dates back to a December 2017 session at the Candybomber studio in Berlin, initiated by Swiss drummer Samuel Rohrer who invited along two Norwegians—sampler and keyboardist Jan Bang and guitarist Eivind Aarset—having previously played with them at gigs including Norway's annual Punkt festival. The open improvisations resulting from the session were examined and then used as the basis of further manipulations. Bang made two important decisions that contributed to the end results heard here: firstly, he decided to give additional shape and colour to the music by singing it, a role he had not undertaken for some years; secondly, he sent the results to his fellow Norwegian, and Punkt band mate, Erik Honore, who helped shape the music and became the fourth member of Dark Star Safari.

Given Rohrer's past experience with Bang and Aarset, and the three Norwegians' history together—as on Arve Henriksen's Towards Language (Rune Grammofon, 2017) and Places of Worship (Rune Grammofon, 2013), for example—it is unsurprising that Dark Star Safari is a tight, like-minded ensemble. What may catch some listeners unawares is the prominence of vocals throughout and the shortness of the songs, which vary in length from just under a-minute-and-a-half to just under six minutes, together totalling thirty-eight-and-a-half minutes. The songs' melodies are largely carried by Bang's vocals, with the results of the open improvisations being used for coloration and atmosphere, and Rohrer's drumming giving them a pulse (as heard on the YouTube clip of "Resilient Star," below.)

Bang proves to be an accomplished vocalist who employs a variety of voices to suit the content and mood of different songs; at times, his delivery and phrasing have a plaintive edge that is reminiscent of the late, great Scott Walker; and we should not forget that Bang and Honoré have also worked closely with David Sylvian. Aficionados of Walker and Sylvian will certainly find much here to interest and engage them.

As a debut album, Dark Star Safari is a clear indication that this quartet has a promising future ahead of them, producing innovative and original music. The prospect of their second album is already mouth-watering.

Track Listing

Labyrinthine; Resilient Star; Family Gospel; Child of Folly; Thoughts and Prayers; Mordechai (A Prophecy); November’s Child; White Rose; Youfari.

Personnel

Jan Bang: vocals, live sampling, samples, acoustic piano, Dictaphone; Erik Honoré: synthesiser, samples, synth bass, voice, lyrics; Eivind Aarset: guitar, electronics, bass; Samuel Rohrer: drums, percussion, electronics, synth.

Album information

Title: Dark Star Safari | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Arjunamusic Records


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter Since 1995, shortly after the dawn of the internet, All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz, supporting 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.

WE NEED YOUR 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 rigorously 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.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Swings High
Joe Harriott
Séances
Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant avec Folie À Quatre
Songs Of Ascent Book 1—Degrees
Dave Douglas Quintet

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

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