As Norway’s premier noise troupe, Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre’s Jazkamer project has a certain status to uphold. Rather than resting on their well-earned laurels, Marhaug and Hegre keep a gruelling schedule of shows and an even more gruelling schedule of releases, which has culminated recently in an ambitious album-a-month series spanning throughout 2010. While the concept itself is now fairly well worn, what has astonished this time around is the sheer quality the duo has managed to keep up while flitting from genre to genre with the utmost of ease.
‘Chestnut Thornback Tar’ was originally the May instalment of the Jazkamer subscription series, and to my mind the record that best sums up the band’s wide reach. It is telling that Marhaug is pictured on the sleeve wearing an ‘Earth 2’ tee-shirt, as the album creeps to life with a molten guitar drone well worthy of comparison to Dylan Carlson’s molasses-slow compositions. Through wailing sheets of white noise, thick sustained tones push their way through the track’s twenty-minute duration, giving the postmillennial drone pretenders more than enough to think about. ‘Sentimental Journey’ feels less like a statement of intent and more like the underlining of a genre that might be well trodden, but is rarely done with this Zen-like attention to detail. Even this however gives little indication of the frothy hyperactive noise the remaining tracks extol. With a Sissy Spacek influenced jump cut style, Marhaug, Hegre and their collaborators Nils Are Drønen and Jean-Philippe Gross pummel their way through the back-rooms of metal clubs everywhere, rupturing veins with splattercore drums, burbling noise and screaming feedback. ‘Chestnut Thornback Tar’ might not be for the faint of heart, but you’d struggle to find a more rewarding collection of intense, metal-drenched experimental noise.