6

Nils Berg Cinemascope: Popmotion

James Pearse By

Sign in to view read count
There are concept albums and then there is concept music. While progressive rock and pop artists habitually follow a specific theme or develop a story over the course of an album, some musicians offer entirely new models of composition. Popmotion, the debut album by Swedish trio Nils Berg Cinemascope, falls unquestionably into the latter category.

The eight tracks on Popmotion were written and performed around video clips of musicians from Brunei, Ghana, Japan, Sweden and United States, which the band members discovered on YouTube and Vimeo. Links to the original videos can be found on the band's website for a full audio-visual experience.

As multi-instrumentalist Berg explains in the liner notes, there is a new quartet for each song, with the core trio plus the star of the found videos as the fourth, temporary member of the group. These include a "hibernated hippie on sitar," "giggling teenagers from Brunei," "a balafon master from Ghana" and "a shy Japanese lady and her flute." On the recording, the trio plays along in front of a screen, which shows the videos of the "far-away guests, who are seen, heard and incorporated into the live music."

The result is as spellbinding as it is unconventional. On tracks such as "Accra Underground," featuring music performed on a bowed dulcimer, and "Benibanatsumiuta" (Japanese folk played on a bamboo flute), Berg's clarinet and saxophone snake mischievously in and out of Josef Kallerdahl's infectious bass work and Christopher Cantillo's solid percussion, which in turn drive the music long nicely and offer buoy of safety in the expensive sea of sounds that makes up Popmotion.

In addition to the spectrum of genres and influences present, there is a catchy, lo-fi pop thread to Popmotion; even the cover comes as a foldable movie poster designed and hand-produced by artist Sanna Haverinen. Gothenburg-born Berg has collaborated with Swedish pop acts like Peter Bjorn, and John and Mando Diao, as well as jazz musicians such as Goran Kajfes.

The innovation of Nils Berg Cinemascope is found not solely in the use of social media and Video-sharing networks for inspiration; it is in the plasticity and fluidity of the three jazz musicians that make up the trio. As the musicians were not involved in the writing of the original pieces of music, they are presented with the challenge of exploring the music and finding space in which to stretch out and add extra color to the music they have chosen to accompany. The trio has skilfully incorporated the work of strangers into their sound rather than forcing themselves onto the work of others by simply pasting jazz tones onto existing pieces of music, and Popmotion is all the better for it.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: mysql_fetch_object(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /home/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php on line 39

More Articles

Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Flesh & Bone CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read Generations CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read 90 Going On Amazing CD/LP/Track Review 90 Going On Amazing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter CD/LP/Track Review Let There Be Life, Love and Laughter
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Light Shines In" CD/LP/Track Review Light Shines In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Graviton" CD/LP/Track Review Graviton
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 8, 2017
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Concert Of The Century" CD/LP/Track Review Concert Of The Century
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 10, 2017
Read "Exosphere" CD/LP/Track Review Exosphere
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 2, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.