Om Jaga Jazzist
For those who think they know Jaga Jazzist, the story of this Norwegian supergroup and Starfire – its fifth full-length studio album, hot on the heels of the acclaimed 20th anniversary vinyl box, ’94-’14 – begins with a pop quiz: Jaga Jazzist is: (a) A jazz band; (b) A rock band; (c) A progressive rock band; (d) A hip hop group; (e) A rap group; (f) A reggae group; (g) A polka band; (h) A comedy band; (i) An electronica group; (j) A classical ensemble; (k) A choral ensemble; (l) All of the above; (m) None of the above. The answer is, indeed, both (l) and (m) because across two decades Jaga has been all of these things but, at the end of the day, is really none of them. A point made all the more clear with Starfire – which, in some ways, returns to earlier roots while, at he same time, introducing new elements and, as ever, moving forward… always moving forward. If Jaga has any rules, there’s really just one: every album must sound like nothing that preceded it. With Starfire, the group that has confounded categorization from inception has delivered yet another album unlike any they’ve ever done before. Yet, at the end of the day – despite touchstones ranging from Gil Evans to Radiohead, My Bloody Valentine to Tortoise, Oslo 13 to Motorpsycho and Fela Kuti to Steve Reich – Starfire still sounds absolutely like nobody but Jaga Jazzist.