The Norwegian supernova known as JAGA JAZZIST have created yet another meisterwerk with the appropriately titled Starfire. Pulsing with life, pulsing with creativity, the dazzling audial assault is the soundtrack to a vintage movie set in outer space.
Within Starfire’s five songs is an impressive amount of content. Intricate layers created by seemingly a gazillion different instruments travel through the galaxy. JAGA JAZZIST’s electronic and psychedelic synth influences take hold of much of the album atop their Norwegian jazz foundation. There is a melancholic thread that runs through it all.
The title track starts things off with a sublime and quiet tone that morphs away from its jazz intro to spaced out psychedelic/prog realms. “Starfire” creates this feeling of the vastness and futurist feelings of being in space albeit. The cascading and panning in and out of electronics gives the sensation of comets streaking by.
“Big City Music” is decidedly more electronic-based with its plethora of synth work. The 14+ minute song is built around a massive melody that is the song’s apex at the 7:30 and 12:15 marks. Keen ears will hear progressive house song influences tucked in there.
Despite being named after Japan’s bullet trains, “Shinkansen” is a mellow track that brings the sensation of floating in the cosmos as comets fly by.
The heart of “Oban” is the wonderfully sublime bass clarinet riff that comes in when during the song’s quiet sections. The song sound is essentially the soundtrack to how stars are formed amongst molecular clouds.
“Prungen” has jazzy bookends and crescendos in the middle with some excellent electronics going off.
A true appreciation of Starfire cannot be had without seeing the band live or watching videos of their live performances of these songs. The number of moving parts and the intricateness of the compositions is so impressive along with the seemingly gazillion instruments the band play. Take time to get to know Starfire and it will reward you again and again. (Ninja Tune)