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Drone Operatør: BØLTS: 00-99

Drone Operatør certainly aren’t the most sentimental of jazz players, preferring to go more for the old ‘banging-your-head-against-the-wall’ approach, wilfully repelling casual listeners on sight. Unlike their spacey use of electronics in the Sim Card Hølder collaboration, this goes straight to the guttural, earthy timbres of fusion, treating jazz like a massive metal stick with which to beat listeners around the head.

It’s impressive how the instrumentalists keep together, especially since the musical texture thrives on their individualism, with any two instruments rarely feeling comfortable around one other. The musical structure constantly seems to backtrack and purposefully forget its place, with ideas often cut short and repeated over and over like they're stuck in a loop, desperately trying to break free.

All the calm ‘cool’ edges of jazz have been sharpened, taking a more brute force approach. The influence of progressive rock can be seen with the explosive drumming style that’s adopted at times, as well as the jarring rhythm changes that continually make their mark on a piece. The drums are almost comical in how they try to keep a beat, what with it being questionable whether or not there's one to keep in the first place. The fluttery cymbal tap-dancing and crashes in ‘Gambler’ feel especially tongue in cheek, their lightness contrasted against the manic saxophone squabbles they accompany. There’s no grace about anything here, and that’s the way they like it.

Admittedly it’s not always easy to distinguish between one piece and another, but you're probably not meant to. It’s not about the music itself but the action behind it all made by the musicians. Each piece sees an energetic thrashing as the instrumentalists try to escape the electronic hums and emptiness that always remains at the heart of it all, and into which all the noise inevitably falls. However much they thrash and wail about, it all ends the same way. The ideas are too fragmented to do anything else, with the scuttling drum taps, jagged bass figures and wailing sax eventually disintegrating into nothing. Whereas Sim Card Hølder was willing to explore this emptiness, this is more desperate, doing anything to get away and fill it all with noise.

There’s definitely a manic edge to this recording. It’s not jazz in the traditional sense of the word, but if you’re interested in jazz fusion with a psychotic edge then definitely go for it - you’re gonna have a lot of fun with this one. Either way, one thing’s for sure; they’re going their own way, whether you come along for the ride or not.

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