All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

11

Trallskogen: Trollskogen

Friedrich Kunzmann By

Sign in to view read count
Think Jazz, Pop, some Fusion, then add a large spoon full of Scandinavian folklore and the result still won't quite amount to the flabbergasting blend that is Trallskogen's debut album Trollkskogen. Initially born out of a project for a performance at the Hochschule für Musik Saar, where singer/composer  Annika Jonsson studied jazz-vocals from 2011 to 2016, Trallskogen has in the meantime become her main musical outlet on her 2017 founded label Nikasounds. The original and melodic mix of above mentioned styles put on display challenges the listener in the best possible way.

The most striking element on this record is the multitude of different approaches to vocal manipulation. In order to fully integrate absolute authenticity to the compositions, Annika undertook intense research for transcriptions and audio recordings of Swedish folklore in Stockholm, where she stumbled upon ancient recordings of Swedish troubadours (Trallsänger), leading to the titles and main influence on the band as well as the album.

After a long ambient intro, that emphatically sets the mood, The album's title tune slowly unfolds, presenting Annika's unique voice, that on this particular track seems to constantly build around the exact melodious scale with micro-tonal variations. The folkloric melodies—delivered exclusively in Swedish—and unique singing technique stand in contrast to the modern instrumentation, which is embedded in a reverb heavy room. The jam candidly comes to an end with a minute-long drum solo.

Structures generally tend to collapse and resurrect into something completely new and unforeseeable, making Trollskogen a truly exciting experience. The piano introduces a cheerful melody on mostly instrumental "Bergtrall," joined shortly after by the guitar before the entire band deconstructs it in most improvisational manner. The ending returns to more harmonious spheres, led by wordless echoing chant from Annika. "Älvdans" on the other hand demonstrates more jumpy and rhythmically complex notions—a catchy chorus, reminiscent of Jethro Tull, serving as a basis to structurally hold things together.

Contrasting elements are presented within compositions as well as from song to song, at times expressed by a specific timbre and at others by the compositional approach. "Han drack" demonstrates these notions as it opens with atmospheric improvisation and ends up in archetypal jazz progressions, emphasized by a poignant walking bass line. Just when the album seems to have climaxed in ever changing styles with the quietly closing Folk song "Farväl," a hidden track resuscitates the pulse with upbeat drum n bass patterns and melodious scatting in unison with guitar.

Despite such vast variety of styles mixed together, this young formation succeeds at presenting a conceptually homogeneous collection of pieces that constantly grips the listeners attention without sounding pretentious or forced. It is also within the unspoiledly 'naïve' approach to composition that lies the strength of Trollskogen presenting what feels like uncharted territory. 

Track Listing: Intro, Trollskogen, Bergtrall, Vad nu, Älvdans, Han drack, Bitar, Farväl, Intercity Mood.

Personnel: Annika Jonsson: vocals, Steffen Lang: guitar, Martin Jäger: piano, Felix Hubert: bass, Kevin Nasshan: drums.

Title: Trollskogen | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Nikasounds

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Vad nu

Vad nu

Trallskogen
Trollskogen

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Trollskogen

Trollskogen

Nikasounds
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
Simbiose
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "Cosmic Playground" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "Moldy Figs" CD/LP/Track Review Moldy Figs
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Jondo" CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Resonance" CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Trandans" CD/LP/Track Review Trandans
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "A Gathering Foretold" CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017