Wako - Wako

Genre: Jazz, Avantgarde Jazz

Label: Øra Fonogram

Release: 21.02.2020

Availabiliy: Vinyl, CD, Digital Streaming

Additional musicians: 

Kaja Constance Rogers (violin), Isa Caroline Holmesland (viola), Kaja Pettersen (cello), Kyrre Laastad (Roland RE-201), Rob Waring (vibraphone), Espen Reinertsen (saxophone, modular synthesizer and effects), Arve Henriksen (trumpet, synthesizer and sampling), Jonas Kullhammar (varitone saxophone), Adrian Løseth Waade (violin), and Sissel Vera Pettersen (saxophone and voice)

In this, their follow-up to "Urolige sinn", Wako have adopted new creative processes, approaches, and methods, as well as an exceptional roster of guest musicians. "Wako" is an album of diversity, a jazz and improvisational banquet, a cornucopia of compositional exploration, and – above all – very aptly named, as it is resoundingly "Wako".


Once again, Martin Myhre Olsen and Kjetil André Mulelid's compositions interweave order and chaos, dissonance and harmony, light and shade, and all manner of musical grit and gusto in a unique fashion. Moments of pensive serenity collapse into ecstatic frenzies. Other moments hint at rock, perhaps even pop music, while others are saturated in colorful abstract expressionism. With such an utter disregard for purism, and a will to venture deep into the sonic unknown, Wako creates a unique musical dialect, if not a completely new language. 


The augmentation of the line-up adds textural layers that alter the mood, highlight the drama, and heighten the tension (sometimes almost to breaking point). Featuring strings (not an entirely new occurrence in the Wako canon – see "Modes for All Eternity", their album with Oslo Strings), both solo (Adrian Løseth Waade, violin) and trio (Kaja Constance Rogers, violin; Isa Caroline Holmesland, viola; Kaja Pettersen, cello), where elements of Zappaesque baroque can merge with Sibelian swells or angular pizzicato, or simply launch into gypsy-like combustion. Rob Waring's vibraphone comps and mirrors the zig-zag licks, while Arve Henriksen's trumpet and mercurial sampling contributions highlight Beatles-style shuffling grooves with (semi-)ironic big band stylings á la James Last and Bert Kaempfert. The saxophone contributions from Jonas Kullhammar, Espen Reinertsen, and Sissel Vera Pettersen complement, contrast, and augment Martin Myhre Olsen's reed work, while the additional synth from Reinertsen and the vocals from Pettersen add new colors to the whole sound.


© Kjetil Mulelid