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Ivan Blomqvist (Sweden/Norway) – Jonas (single/track from forthcoming album)

Ivan Blomqvist (Sweden/Norway) – Jonas (single/track from forthcoming album)

Here’s an instrument you don’t often hear these days, outside of an orchestra at least – a tuba. And it plays a significant part in this track, the second single from Ivan Blomqvist’s forthcoming album ‘Bror’, which is to be released soon.  (We reviewed the first, ‘Tomheten’, back in early December).

On the album Ivan invited some of his favourite musicians and mixed them in with his productions. On ‘Tomheten’ it was a saxophone that featured, prominently.

The tuba player here is Daniel Herskedal. The only place I usually hear a tuba is during the annual brass band competition in my home town. The lowest pitched brass instrument, and one of the newest, it is something of an ugly duckling both visually and audially.

But it has its uses and this is one of them. Frankly, I’ve no idea of what the song it about. I misread ‘Jonas’ as ‘Jonah’ and started to attach whale-like associations to it and there is certainly something unsettlingly marine-like about some of the sounds that emanate from the track.

But on closer inspection it seems to concern a person. On his socials Ivan writes, “You sit leaning on the paper with a smile on your lips and a pen in your hand. Tall like a spruce where you sway calmly in the wind and bend your branches down to the earth. So I remember you fine, kind, beloved Jonas. What I wouldn’t do to fish with you just one more time.” A friend; someone who has left town, or is no longer with us? Possibly.

Strangely perhaps, I also thought of the only Jonas I know of in Norway, a notable record producer based in Oslo, but he wasn’t involved in this particular production from what I can see.

So I ran out of ideas there but in any case the music stands on its own. It’s an 11 minute track, atmospheric from the start. Heavy, early doors, on repetitive bass lines and with a cantering horse-like percussive effect that gnaws its way into your consciousness, but still light enough that it could be a sound track to an avant-garde sci-fi film. Perhaps the tiny dancing orbs of light that are the spaceships in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind.’

(I alluded to astronomy and space travel in the previous review so I’ll continue the tradition!)

About halfway through the tone changes somewhat, to a more ethereal sound (I hate that catch all word but it too has its uses), a more portentous one. More applicable to those spaceships returning to the giant mother craft as it sets sail again towards the next galaxy, while those cantering horses remain throughout the piece to give it momentum.

That’s the best shot I can offer here. You will make of ‘Jonas’ what you will. But there’s no arguing that the Grammy-nominated Mr Blomqvist continues to establish himself as an important, and innovative writer in the nebulous, fluid crossover jazz, fusion, synth, pop fields where Norway continues to establish a global reputation.

‘Jonas’ was released on Jazzland Recordings on January 27th.

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