Our LP "Asconema" on Chironex is out today, limited to 250 copies. Get it from Chironex directly (here; 10€ + shipping) or from us (within Denmark only - 100 kr + forsendelse / afhentning i Århus eller København). Asconema is our 14th major release, and was recorded at a show we played in Sheffield back in 2009. The record has been in the works since December 2009, and is now finally out. The record is mastered by Jack Allett, and the sound has turned out to be complex, contrastful, very bright and somewhat suggestive, which we appreciate. The record could though to some be more difficult to listen to, than many of our earlier releases. We recommend reading Peter Taylor's review below. Special thanks to Greg of Chironex and Jon of Singing Knives for making this happen. Contributors to the set were:
Christian Møller Blæhr (guitar)
Claus Haxholm (electronics)
Emil Rothenborg (violin)
Kelly-Jayne Jones (flute)
Martin Aagaard Jensen (drum kit)
Mikkel Elzer (guitar and electronics)
Mikkel Reher-Langberg (clarinet)
Mikkel Valentin Dunkerley (electronics)
Nikolai Brix Vartenberg (saxophone, bass clarinet, ney flute)
-everyone played percussion
Danes who have pre-ordered the record through Chironex - please write us an email!
Shiggajon is a Danish modern free music collective and continuing collaboration revolving around the duo of Nikolai Brix Vartenberg and Mikkel Reher-Langberg. The recordings for Asconema, their first vinyl output, were made at the conclusive show on a UK-tour in 2009 curated by Singing Knives, which sent the band of in a new direction musically. On Asconema, the sound of this 9-man version of shiggajon goes in a more acoustic and dynamic direction, moving from quiet solo-pieces to intense and bacchantic ones in a matter of moments. The music, though mostly very dense and complex, is formally more "traditional" and less psychedelic than most in this tradition, including the band's own, being almost stripped of added effects, and thus letting the flow of interplay and melody shine through.
Foxy Digitalis (Peter Taylor):
Shiggajon sprung to my attention with a great CD on Singing Knives a few years ago. They are an improv unit that take a feral view on world folk and free-music. The Danish collective has a shifting line-up, consisting of core duo Nikolai Brix Vartenberg and Mikkel Reher-Langberg. This LP expands the line-up to a nine-piece, and the overall sound has evolved and bares comparison to Hunter Gracchus and Faux Amis. The delivery has a raw acoustic sound devoid of heavy post-production adding to the visceral energy of the performance. This is a recording from a live performance in the UK, curated by the awesome Singing Knives label.
Woodwind beckons the audience into submission as a solitary cough confirms that this is a live performance. Screeching cymbals carve up a corpse to the air as the tranquil winds converge like the dance of gales through tight corridors and windows ajar. Tapping metallic sounds bound as flute dances without terra firma to hold its weight. All musicians seem to collide in a swell of whirling shoots that rise before they fall in gradual ascent. The percussion stomps with the searching prowl of many-an improv act, recalling the cataclysmic onslaught of Jooklo Duo or Part Wild Horses. The unit are zoned into one another in a melee of unceasing menace, with the comforting jubilation afforded by the gentler tones via flute and saxophone. There is a relentless bombardment that better lends itself to the live performance as audience member, rather than the solitary and limited format of home listening. The energy is impossible to capture in its violent and unquenchable feasting, yet the rage does manage to seep through the speakers in frightening abundance. As the halfway point of the first performance approaches, all instruments seem to dance in solos that never converge; each an entity unto itself. Sudden moments of unity pass in fleeting couplings that shimmer with a wondrous result. Slight delay pulsates behind the various woodwind and brass in a glorious performance to the dead. There is something creepy and arcane about the musicianship that unnerves and delights, in a way one might find in the practices of the occult. The result is a sensuous celebration of uncanny and archaic arts. A final onslaught brings this massive slab of noise to an end as waves of tone make mesh from each of the nine. Vocals holler and silence finds its way with an unimagined haste.
Feral voices play in duet with saxophone creating a twisted ode to the sky. Mild distortion continues the theme of this feral orchestra as the din swells to its height once again with little time. Bleating sax squeals with vocal hollering in a tribal cry over thunderous drums and droning tones from some hidden source. The energy is ferocious and unceasing, ever colliding and reforming in some raucous combat. Each musician seems to contribute anger and unrest, letting no quarter. As the second half unfolds, some incredible percussion makes for a rugged landscape, and a rest bite from the slaughter allows the flute to sing once more. The droning and guttural sounds that dwell beyond the foreground are truly moving and scrape a blistered surface. Vocals and crying strings hiss creating a steaming movement as spirits seem to escape the rabble. The throng reduces, or rather deflates, allowing for a series of plumes to find their way into the mist. The air feels thick, and for me this is the magic of the music. It has an ability to unnerve and completely alter the sonic state of the listener. Fear and discomfort are rewarded with a dark tranquillity and one finds comfort as a slave might to its master. The tapping, the screeching, the clamour, the cries, they all find there way as flotsam and jetsam in the aftermath of the previous collision. I am left exhausted and bemused, but affected as few records can.
Shiggajon is an ongoing collective project centred around Danish lads Nikolai Brix Vartenberg and Mikkel Reher-Langberg. They specialise in free forms of music, primarily of a psychedelic nature. This is the first time Shiggajon's music has been documented on vinyl and what a fine document it is. Recorded on the final date of their UK tour 'Asconema' is considered by the band to be a breakaway from their standard way of performing improvised music. In this case the nine performers free themselves of the restrictions of effects (commonly used in this field) and strip it back to the bare basics, in this case acoustic, brass and percussion instruments. As a result this recording sounds lively and organic without relying on the safe haven of psychedelia to keep the ball rolling. The performance shifts from subtle solo pieces to all out carnage in the blink of an eye. It's a curious, dense offering that has more in common with free jazz than any of Shiggajon's previous outings and it suits them just fine.
Amazing new limited to 250 copies LP from this wild free folk/free jazz commune out of Denmark led by Nikolai Brix Vartenberg and Mikkel Reher-Langberg. Asconema is a recording from a Singing Knives-produced show that took place in Sheffield in October of 2009 with the group swollen to a nine piece and featuring Kelly Jones of Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides on flute alongside guitar, electronics, saxophone, drums and violin. This is dense/primitive polyphony in the style of the early Globe Unity Orchestra/FMP sides married to a contemporary free folk attack. The music moves from great accumulative waves of strings and throats and epic percussion through incredible sustained single note levitations that touch on Coltrane’s Ascension ensemble, with the whole group straining upwards while gargling white light. Seriously, a phenomenal free music recording with the presence of Kelly Jones’ soaring flute work pushing it to a whole other level. Highly recommended.