Listen “Blackjazz” on a cold and dark morning in 2010 was love at first listen and it was one of the best albums of 2010 while Shining became one of my favorite bands. Although 2011 bring “Live Blackjazz”, a killer and consistent live recording, the awaiting seems longer than it actually was.
“One One One” pick up where “Blackjazz” left off, eventually Jørgen Munkeby and his bandmates get further darker, harder and more intense than ever before. The sixth album by the Norwegian Shining it’s a contorted mixture of black metal, industrial rock and jazz reminiscences, it’s blackjazz.
Shining was formed in 1999 by saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Jørgen Munkeby. Munkeby had moved to Oslo to study at the Norwegian Academy of Music, and was in need of bandmates for a concert he had already booked. Among his fellow students he found bassist Aslak Hartberg, drummer Torstein Lofthus and pianist Morten Qvenild.
Playing modern and energetic acoustic jazz, their first album, “Where the Ragged People Go”, was released 5 November 2001.
The band’s John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman-inspired sound was further developed on their second album, “Sweet Shanghai Devil”, released by Jazzland Recordings in 2003. Their music became freer, incorporating more elements from outside the jazz idiom, but still remained entirely acoustic.
Shining had signed to Rune Grammofon, a record label that specializes in experimental and improvised music and 2005 bring to the surface a completely transformed brand new Shining with the release of their third album, “In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster”, where progressive rock and metal influences were blended into their experimental jazz. Munkeby has stated that Motorpsycho was the main inspiration to move to a more rock-centric sound, and that the album was strongly influenced by Olivier Messiaen. “In the Kingdom…” was well received by critics, both in Norway and internationally, and was included in the best new music section on Pitchfork, but also go on to win the Alarm Award for best jazz album in 2006.
“Grindstone” was released on Rune Grammofon in January 2007 incorporating also new elements of noise and drone. As its predecessor the year before, “Grindstone” won the Alarm Award for best jazz album in 2007.
In October 2007 Shining toured Europe as support for Enslaved and the concerts usually ended with the two bands doing a cover version of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man”. After seeing a video of one of these covers, the programme committee of Moldejazz commissioned the two bands to write and perform a 90-minute work together. The resulting work “Nine Nights in Nothingness – Glimpses of Downfall”, often referred to as “The Armageddon Concerto”, was first performed at Moldejazz 19 July 2008. The concerto consists of nine movements, five of which were composed by Jørgen Munkeby and four by Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved.
Shining’s fifth album entitled “Blackjazz” as a reference to their new-find style was released on 18th January 2010 on Indie Recordings.
“Blackjazz” was the perfect mixture of black metal rawness, industrial fueled noises and contortions and the power and the energy of jazz pushed over the limits of experimentation and exploration.
“One One One” was released on Universal in Norway on April 8th and will be released worldwide in May.
01. I Won’t Forget (3:51)
02. The One Inside (4:03)
03. My Dying Drive (4:05)
04. Off the Hook (3:37)
05. Blackjazz Rebels (3:28)
06. How Your Story Ends (4:39)
07. The Hurting Game (4:08)
08. Walk Away (3:38)
09. Paint the Sky Black (4:19)
Jørgen Munkeby – Sax, guitar, Akai EWI, vocals etc.
Torstein Lofthus – Drums
Tor Egil Kreken – Bass (since 2008)
Bernt Moen – Keys (since 2008)
Håkon Sagen – Guitar (since 2010)
“I Won’t Forget” kicks in like a classic Motorhead track, Jørgen Munkeby’s voice sounds exactly as Lemmy and although beneath the surface the texture it’s much subtle and complex, this is a murderous black’n’roll anthem with dense industrial textures, smart jazz complexity and killer rock energy incorporated in one. Munkeby’s saxophone it’s pretty hidden, but he’s soloing it’s murderous as always. Shining seems and sound unstoppable.
“The One Inside” push the pedal even further into the industrial inspired noisiness and contorted structures, it’s gloomy, dangerous and so Shining. Truly insane. Munkeby’s saxophone solo it’s the most friendly and comfortable moment of the song, can you imagine that?
“My Dying Drive” it’s really the baby-brother of “Fisheye”. It’s the same sickness and madness in it throughout. Pills won’t work, need perfusion directly in your head.
“Off the Hook” starts with a schizoid melody singed by Munkeby and the vocals take the leading role throughout while the music around it’s a twisted in and out mixture of 70’s vibe hard rock and messed up rhythmic with wicked noisy layers. Sick and unacceptable for most, but so damn exciting!!
“Blackjazz Rebels” it’s build upon some bone cutting riffs, the pounding drums and some schizophrenic melodies and it’s another extremely dense and intense black’n’roll.
“How Your Story Ends” starting with Munkeby’s saxophone, it’s very refreshing, then the killer riffs taking over and the hell it’s unleashed once again. Complex rhythmic, distorted guitars, basses and vocals, lots of noise, still very smartly layered and mixed, Shining it’s at the top of their (sick) game once again.
“The Hurting Game” brings back the Motorhead taste-like, but it’s Motorhead on the fast-lane and not on steroids, but on some sick, future, yet not discovered drug. Once again, the saxophone solo it’s murderous just like the following breakdown which feels like a funeral march. I would focused on that passage a little bit more.
“Walk Away” keeps the upper tempo and the high intensity on, but I really think a break somewhere would be just nice. Somehow a jazz break, a quieter moment would be useful. Although “One One One” feels like an endless run away.
“Paint the Sky Black” it’s a complex, grinding industrial metal anthem, but just as I said, it would be much effective if it would be kicked in after some quieter moment. Otherwise “One One One” became an endless hurricane of noises and it’s hard to follow throughout even if each song have it’s own little trick and magic.
Still, I love this. Eventually it’s less surprising and breath taking as it’s predecessor, maybe a little bit uni-dimensional, but after six or seven listening became addictive. It will be on the list of my favorite albums of 2013 and I will play it in my mp3 player to get away from you people when I have to leave the safety of my home once in a while. With headphones on, probably I will discover some more secrets, unrevealed passages and new dimensions.
But I keep my opinion: some breaks, some less noisier passages, some more obvious jazz inserts would make this even tastier.
Buy it or steal it – but on your own risk!!