Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Muse in Music review of N&L

Here are some words from The Muse in Music blog.
We're well aware that N&L needs its time to get into people's heads as well as today Time is something we always seems to lack. We do appreciate honesty and do think this review is filled with it...

TMIM reviews: Numbers & Letters, by Joxfield ProjeXNovember 23, 2010 | by Fred

From the land of Ikea, the Stockholm Palace, and Dolph Lundgren comes something truly massive. Joxfield ProjeX has just issued Numbers & Letters, its second 3-disc set in four years. Clocking in at 148 minutes and 24 tracks, this resembles Aunt Jude’s vegan Christmas as much as it does a record release: you’ll love some of it, you’ll hate some, and while it’s probably all really good for you, there will be leftovers for days.

Joxfield ProjeX is Stefan Ek and Janne Andersson. Friends for nearly 50 years, Ek and Andersson traded in improvised music in the late 60s and early 70s, and then fell under the radar from 1975 until 2005. After returning from extended hiatus, their output has been magnificent, at least in terms of quantity. In 2005 alone they issued a double CDR, a single CDR, and a live disc. They tendered their first 3-CDR release in 2006, at least five different releases in 2009, and a rarities collection named, inevitably, Smorgasbord in October 2010. Readers visiting their Discogs page will find the discography to be hopelessly out of date. Ek and Andersson (from here it’s “Oax” and “Yan”, their stage names) are too busy making netlabel music to bother with keeping up the books. The reader can be forgiven for asking if, at such an exhausting level of output, any of it is worth hearing.

The answer is yes, absolutely.

Disc A is titled Abstract Numbers. After a few false starts — extended keyboard and guitar jam sessions, lengthy prog-rock lessons, free-form jazz’ish, flangers set to 11 — the pot starts simmering with “Computer 2,” the last of an apparent triptych, starting with “Computer 8″ and continuing with “Computer 7.” It is an entrancing, mid-tempo ambient piece, awash with low-register synth, a slightly eastern accent and a spy movie finish. This is a good start, if only in geological terms. “Balinesean Jig” appears to be just that, a fast, African-inspired percussion rhythm atop a brief exhibition of distorted guitar chops. At under a minute, the song is far too short to leave any kind of a mark, but the following track is not. “For a Rainy Day Part 1″ is downright creepy: a complete remix of cyberpunk novelist Kenji Siratori’s “Double Bind.” The original work is noisy, admonishing and carnivalesque, in which an urgent spoken word track blankets a sparse cat-on-the-piano arrangement and electronic tinkering. The compressed, staccato, reverberating vocal work is well-served here in its industrial retrofit: processed and harsh noise, samples and feedback, the occasional squawk of guitar and flute. Devoid of melody or rhythm, it seems an odd choice for this otherwise cheery pair, but by all means it works as a one-time fix.

In other hands, “For a Rainy Day Part 1″ would have closed Disc A, but Oax and Yan opt wisely instead for a nine-minute rave. “The Conquer of TFD” is indisputably a dance track, or better yet a 140bpm treadmill run, going nowhere but going there briskly, thankfully kinetic and tangible, after nearly 40 minutes of precisely the opposite. The artsy and dissonant cello work of the final seconds is a deft touch, and a lovely one.

Discs B and C are titled, respectively, Concrete Letters A-M and Concrete Letters N-Z. The album titles prompt the listener to expect a discernible shift, a move beyond the esoteric number theory to something a bit more literal and grounded. But with such a wide-angle lens — two dozen tracks, six minute durations on average, many as long eight minutes or more — it is nearly impossible to divine any kind of course correction here. Dotted across all of Numbers & Letters are the progressive cartoon fancies of Ozric Tentacles, the crafty axeslinging of King Crimson, and the physical, sometimes frantic saxophone work of a David Lynch picture. Indeed, Concrete Letters A-M resumes exactly where Abstract Numbers left off, with six bonus minutes of house music (“In the Garden of Eden”). It seems that the central metaphor of this release is “more!”

After a second, not quite as unnerving appearance by Siratori, Concrete Letters A-M takes a fun turn with “The First Day.” The uptempo, thumping percussion and the Jews harp silliness put this reviewer to grinning like an idiot. Next, after so much emphasis on guitar and electronics, it is the drum machine that is at last given some space to breathe. Enter Geoff Leigh’s flute solo; even after 35 years, Oax and Yan hang on to their flair for improvisation. “Sanity Check” is a convincing sitar and tanpura day trip, although the song title won’t fool anyone. Disc B closes with “Dragons Fly In the Night,” where a public access channel intro and absurd Vlad the Impaler organ riff dovetail straight into a deadpan rock delivery, and conclude with all of the brass of a Terrence Trent D’Arby bit. That’s the thing about eight-minute tracks: R&B can share lodging with almost anything, as long as the songwriters mind their feng shui.

Sadly, Disc C could practically have been discarded altogether, and giving microphone time to the sort of tracks that failed Discs A and B. Where the path from Abstract Numbers to Concrete Letters A-M was obscured, a clear transition between those the last two albums sits in plain view. Here the drum beats level off, the textures dry up, and the ubiquitous improv begins strangling the craftsmanship. The finest track here is “Mind the Gap,” although by now the album has already traveled to central Asia once — for “Sanity Check” — and with much more impressive results. The listener is all but burned out on the instruction video guitar, the dazzling keyboard work, and the perambulating song structures. The tracklist even reprises the “Computer” series (numbered six, this one brings the grand total to four). By now the thing has become a lazy composition, with an uninspired drum beat and poorly-chosen synthesizer tones. To quote one of these last, flagging songs, “The Entropy is Strong.”

You have to love Joxfield, both as a musical source and as a pair of nice guys: their humor, their good nature, their unbelievable output. But Numbers & Letters is simply too long. A 148-minute opus may have a place in experimental music, but the more-is-more ethic done this way is a disservice to the listener (the interested reader might peruse their discography for one of the shorter works, say Shimmering/Mah No 1). As a collection of singles, Numbers & Letters is a success: it is a rare find indeed, to come upon a dozen tenable songs as diverse as “For a Rainy Day Part 1,” “The First Day,” and “Sanity Check.” It is frustrating, then, that the songwriters could not bring themselves to edit. Anything.

This 3-disc collection is perhaps just as valuable as a hub for discovering other talent: just look at the contributors’ list. Kenji Siratori’s collaboration with Joxfield — and with other musicians — looks quite promising, and his debut novel sounds lively (“acclaimed by David Bowie,” the copy keeps saying). At first glance, the music of cellist Sakamoto Hiromichi is moving and intelligent. Conversely, aficionados of harsh industrial noise might want to look up Churner, who makes a cameo appearance in “The Conquer of TFD.”

So Numbers & Letters is overfed, and not terribly concerned about diet or exercise. Nevertheless, it has a wardrobe full of skinny jeans, and they all make for fantastic playlists. Remember: this is netlabel music. It won’t cost you anything but your time: 6.5/10

Friday, November 26, 2010

What On Earth Is This, Mick?

Invocation Of My Demon Brother
Uploaded by riton23. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.
In 1969 Kenneth Anger made an 11 minutes occult, experimental short film, "Invocation Of My Demon Brother". The soundtrack was made by, believe it or not, Mick Jagger, examining an early Moog.
I didn't know anything about this until recently. Have it made me a better person? No, but life's always a bit more interesting when the unexpected happens.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Short Notice

A couple of days ago following words could be read in the news section on King Crimson/Robert Fripp DGM Live site:

Pat's Out & About
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Nov 15, 2010

Aside from getting married recently, Pat Mastelotto has also been busy appearing on various projects of one kind or another. First up, his work appears on a new triple album by Swedish electronica outfit, Joxfield ProjeX. You can find out more about the album by visiting their website (

To be seen is to be, or?
And, yes, we congratulate Pat to his marriage, of course

Jazz - 3 In a Row

Right now there's a lot of Jazz Moods circulating in my living room. The sounds from various vinyl LPs on the grammophone's heard.
A couple of weeks ago I had some opportunities to see 'n' hear the majestic reeds man Mats Gustafsson in various constellations: The Thing & Otomo Yoshihide, FTJ (with Joachim Nordwall) and Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentett + 1.
At the first concert I bought the all new 11" piece of plastic "Jazz på Svenska" by Swedish Ass. a quintett featuring Mats, playing their tribute to Swedish jazz giants of the 50's and 60's, Lasse Werner and Lars Gullin, bringing their classic jazz into new territories.

Inspired by that album I just had to check whatever there was to be found by the two guys. Lasse Werner's still on my wants-list, but for Lars Gullin I found a great compilation from his famous 1951 - 1954 era,

"Danny's Dream - Lars Gullin 1951 - 1954 - The Legendary Years", a two disc set released in mid-70's by the Metronome label. Maybe not too common to hear jazz from these years on my player, but this album is just as good as I thought it should be.

I've always had some favour of British jazz from late 60's and ten years on, mostly focusing on artists from the Canterbury Scene, especially Soft Machine and artists related to them, but also people like Keith Tippett, Mike Gibbs and so on. Tippett's Centipede double disc album "Septober Energy" has always been an outstanding one for me. When checking up more of what there was to find in Tippett's catalogue including bigger bands I jumped into his 1977 project Keith Tippett's Ark and the double disc album "Frames - Music for an Imaginary Film". The band consists of 22 persons, some of them know from the Centipede Gargantua effort, others from the British jazz nad free form scene of late 60's and 70's. The 80 minutes suite in four parts is a complex piece of music, varies from strict composition to open and free improvisations, and with Julie Tippett's voice here and there, like a well-tasting spice mix this album becomes one of Tippett's best ever.
When having a little chat with Mats G during one of the concerts we talked a bit about Tippett and his music. I told him I've seen the rare "Frames" album at Harald Hult's excellent record store Andra Jazz in Stockholm, but the price was scary, 1200 kronor (about 165$). Mats consider Andra Jazz being the best and kindest record store ever, but "yes, Harald is a bit expensive...". Next time I was there the album was gone, I didn't even have to bother about the price anymore (instead I bought, yes, Swedish Ass). A couple of weeks later I bought it through the sales service at Discogs for 500 kronor (about 70$) and when it arrived I just realised what I've already heard - the album is magnificent. Ogun Records, of course.
It has been re-released on CD, but right now, who cares? Recommended!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recent Music Heroes - Numbers & Letters review

Dear Kert Semm continue to bring light to our music. But, to keep us on the ground he brings us some valuable reflections, too. And we're happy he do.
Here's a review from his Recent Music Heroes blog
ThanX Kert!

Joxfield ProjeX Numbers & Letters (Clinical Archives)

Yet one year ago the Swedish pop music seemed to have strongly been associated with the sound of fields, sunshine and colourful flowers. You even know, such beautiful and safe, yet masterful and well-produced conceptions which fulfilled the task of muzak in the certain way. (The muzak as music is such a kind of listening object which is used to be predictable, i.e, keeping to live its own life from the very start without needing much attention and reasoning anymore). However, all my premisses were changed since I heard Joxfield ProjeX, by Yan and Oax leaded ensemble which showed up really deep and ungraspable point of view.

In fact, there has been a lot of albums within a year: Bits And Pieces# 1-13; Picnic; Virtual Dreams & Realities; Shimmering Mah No 1; Phantastique; and recently, Oddities And Rarities 2005-2010. No one of them were failed. Moreover, all the aspects of serious and intellectual-minded rock music were profoundly investigated on the aforementioned issues: from the progressive rock to the open-minded and over-the-edge-pouring space rock, ambient techno and kosmische musik conceptions.

A new one is compiled of 24 tracks (or 3 CD sets), including cooperation snippets of such luminaries as Pat Mastoletto, Geoff Leigh, and Kenji Siratori among other guests. It might be seem in comparison with the duo`s previous works it does sound more free jazz-y, incorporating the elements of pompous electro-rock/baggy-ish breakbeats, in Japanese spoken word, dream-loaded and hazy flute improvisations, ragga-rhythms and tanpura-sitar drones. However, it is obviously the first time when a release by their side seems to be a bit loose (or extrovert as it is already said), sometimes "uncomposed", based mainly on free improvised jams, or on the other side, sinking into the mould of avant-prog bottom. On the last third of the album, however, it smashes its head spot getting intensely to haze its boundaries and breaking on the other side. Though my top notch and recommendation is previously Oddities And Rarities 2005-2010, yet, those 24 tracks are very important part to get completed the whole regarding Joxfield ProjeX`s sound and conception. The whole picture of them became even more indistinct. And it is excellent, of course. By a Joker`s point of view indeed.

Find the original review on

Friday, November 12, 2010

Out now on Clinical Archives - Joxfield ProjeX & Guests - Numbers & Letters

Joxfield ProjeX & Guests - Numbers & Letters (3 Disc Set) (ca408) (November 12, 2010)

Yes, here it is. Find it, get it!

Disc A - Abstract Numbers
01 - Computer 8 - 5:34
02 - Computer 7 - 3:10
03 - Have I Been Here Before - 5:16
04 - Modern Sea - 4:25
05 - Computer 2 - 3:02
06 - A Secret Door - 4:45
07 - Balinesean Jig - 0:48
08 - For A Rainy Day Part 1 (incl. Double Bind) - 6:46
09 - For A Rainy Day Part 2 - 4:43
10 - The Conquer of TFD - 9:32

Disc B - Concrete Letters A-M
01 - In the Garden Of Eden - 6:13
02 - Kenji Self-Unit - 5:06
03 - The First Day - 8:19
04 - Sanity Check - 5:07
05 - Electric Apple - 8:32
06 - Landscape Ahead - 5:32
07 - Dragons Fly In the Night - 8:28

Disc C - Concrete Letters N-Z
01 - Computer 6 - 4:06
02 - Ruff And Tough - 4:53
03 - Mind the Gap - 7:12
04 - Shimmering Aohm - 7:56
05 - Silent Night/Night Silence - 13:48
06 - The Entropy Is Strong - 11:05
07 - No Kro Poh - 4:18

cover front
cover back
disk image

Words & Music by Oax and Yan except words on ‘For A Rainy Day Part 1 (Double Bind)’ & ‘Kenji Self-Unit’ by Kenji Siratori, words and sung melody on ‘Dragons Fly In The Night’ by Geoff Leigh.

Has Joxfield ProjeX become a Big Band with all these guests? And is this The White Album of Joxfield ProjeX? The answer is No on both questions. When we were about to start our new recording sessions in 2007 we had decided we wanted to bring our music into territories where we had never been before. To do so we wanted to involve other people and asked around amongst artists we liked and respected and to whom we could direct a mission - contribute to our music in an open-minded and creative way. Most of those we asked generously brought their inspiration to us and went into the project, sometimes for a specific track, sometimes for many of them.
Very quick we realised it was a huge project and when it all was finished we had about 2½ hours of music we didn’t want to split up. That’s why it’s a 3 disc set. The variation of the music is the variation of our minds, that’s how we are. For those who care Disc A - Abstract Numbers is maybe a bit introvert, reflective and the Discs B & C - Concrete Letters A-Z might seem extrovert, a little bit more easy-going.
Most of the music is recorded in 2007 with lots of additional recordings, editing and treatments in 2007 - 2010.

Joxfield ProjeX is still the duo Oax and Yan playing their instruments, programming stuff, adding whatever they find reasonable to add, edit and treat.
What about the guests? Most of them do have a long and deep history of success with various bands etc, but instead of fooling both you and them and pretend this music here sounds like anything what they’ve done with those constellations we suggest you check ‘em up by your own.

Joxfield ProjeX:
Oax - Most of the guitars and loads of other stuff heard all over
Yan - Most of the keyboards, percussion programming and loads of other stuff heard all over

Geoff Leigh - Flute, soprano saxophone, vocals, effects, Jews harp
Pat Mastelotto - Drums, percussion, samples
Nikke Ström - Bass
Håkan Almkvist - Bass, sitar, tanpura, percussion
Kenji Siratori - Spoken word
Hiromichi Sakamoto - Cello
José João - Elephantnoiseguitar
Churner - Harsh noise
Regina P - Vocal
Jan Ternald - Cover painting artist

For better information about who’s playing what on respectively track, please, check the info sheet.

Contacts & check-ups: