Daily Dose: ‘Tommy Synth’ by Krokofant

Yep, this is nuts. It’s good nuts, but it starts out pretty wild and stays at a low orbit around loonyville, with some mild breaks, for pretty much the entire eight-and-a-half-minute duration. If you like your jazz on the aggressive, bounding side of the spectrum, then I’ve got a song for you, that’s for sure. These guys have been compared and taken inspiration from King Crimson, and that’s not just because they are functionally a power trio organisationally reminiscent of Red era Crimson, it’s because their brand of flamboyant, robust jazz-prog-rock has pretty clear parallels. The group, from Norway, consists of Jørgen Mathisen (saxophone), Tom Hasslan (guitar) and Axel Skalstad (drums), and has a few interesting translations stemming from their name; the word Krokofant doesn’t appear to mean anything in Norwegian, but it apparently translates to “croquet” in Polish, as well as “crocodile” or possible even “crooked” in Greek. I think if you combined those words it may make for a better band name, but who really knows what the band original intent here was, which to be fair, may have been the point. It’s taken from their third album, the very helpfully named Krokofant III, (17th February, 2017), which I haven’t heard yet but may break out one day when I’m feeling brave.

There still is noodling here, but it’s pretty forceful in its explorations and adventure, meaning that it’s heavy enough that it never feels thin or aimless. Explosive, almost violent at points, but certainly not restrained or understated. It’s giving free jazz a fighting chance among people who dismiss as unlistenable widdling. Sure, it won’t be for everyone, but if you want an involved, rocky way into the serious jazz world, this is a good tune for it.

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