Preview: Jaga Jazzist + The Physics House Band, The Old Market, Thursday October 24

Amongst Norway’s finest exports, genre-splicing nine-piece Jaga Jazzist grace TOM with a rare full-band performance, alongside local math-rock disciples The Physics House Band. Head music to drive you (instra)mental.
An ever-reshifting, lyric-less collective of musicians melding jazz fusion with electronica and post-rock doesn’t exactly scream mainstream success, but nothing ever stopped Jaga Jazzist. Having long been received by daytime airplay up there, as well as through their side-projects in more straightforward pop acts, they gained global attention after their second, 2002 album A Livingroom Hush was named BBC’s Jazz Album of the Year and brought them to the attention of indie-giants Ninja Tune. A narcotic blend of their diverse influences (Warp Records electronica, dub reggae, Steve Reich…), it was immortalised by NME as “Charlie Mingus with Aphex Twin up his arse”. What followed and set them apart from Scandinavian avant-jazz peers was the deft turn of Jaga’s sound towards post-rock on their later albums What We Must and 2010’s One Armed Bandit, with increasingly expansive arrangements covering all dynamic bases from wispy-soft to epic chase music. Maintaining a hardcore fanbase as their records became ever more idiosyncratic, this cinematic element to Jaga’s sound reached a peak on this year’s Live with Britten Sinfonia, where the nine-piece joined forces with Cambridge’s chamber orchestra for an inevitably grand affair self-dubbed “a psychedelic Bond soundtrack twisting and turning from the stage”.
Even sans orchestra, Jaga have long proved themselves most convincingly on stage, where their unrivalled musicianship weaves together vast soundscapes of guitar, woodwind, brass, keys and vocals, all tied together with founder member Martin Horntveth’s masterful drum strokes. And now, on a highly sparse European tour, Jaga bless Hove’s TOM on one of only two UK dates – and with a full set of members, no less. It’s a no-brainer – save that cranium-crunching for processing those complex live arrangements.
And if that wasn’t a tempting enough proposition, Brighton’s own Physics House Band – ever the more sought after local act for support slots – open up proceedings with their own instrumental mastery. TPHB, in many ways descendants of Jaga’s jazzy avant-rocking, stray further into the realms of math-rock, layering a maniacally sharp edge onto their often serene numbers. Filling spaces with the dense sound of many more than their modest trio might suggest, the band will set the tone for what will undoubtedly be a chin-strokingly sublime evening of word-less wonder. Just don’t heckle them to sing lyrics.
Doors at 7.30pm, £14 advance plus booking fee, aged 14+.
Head to theoldmarket.com for more info and to buy tickets, also available from Resident Records.
Words by Callum McLean


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