Jazzrausch Bigband – téchne
(ACT 9923-2. Album Review by Jon Carvell)
Those who like their jazz to be a jingling background to a sophisticated reception should probably look away now. The Jazzrausch Bigband has pioneered a new genre of ‘techno jazz’ and it’s more glowsticks and subwoofers than cocktails and crisp suits.
Formed in 2015, Jazzrausch recorded their third album at the Munich nightclub Harry Klein, a venue which has been integral to their journey so far and hosted their 2020 New Year’s Eve live stream – (LINK).
Mixing jazz and techno is not for the faint-hearted and there are tracks here which work better than others. Album opener Mosaïque Bleu feels a little too much like catwalk backing music, albeit with a tasty trombone solo from Nils Landgren, and whilst Make Craft Perform is certainly slick, it risks slipping into the more forgettable side of funky house.
It’s when things get darker and more minimal that Jazzrausch Bigband really comes into its own. AI 101 has clear overtones of Kraftwerk, but with a dash of John Adams complementing a relentless techno beat. There is a clever mix of instrumentation, with live drums blending in and out of the electronica textures, and an acid jazz Fender Rhodes solo carves some superb solo lines.
I have tried several times to listen to Green Sun Return without reaching to turn up the volume, but it’s proved impossible. The central muted piano string hook, sampling, synths and big band writing combine brilliantly, and if you can listen to the second breakdown without an enormous grin on your face then there is a genuine risk you may be missing an important part of your musical soul.
Big highs like this would be all the more transporting if the album’s tracks were a little longer, and it’s perhaps a missed opportunity that they aren’t presented here as one continuous mix, as they often appear in live performance. That said, this disc is a great calling card for a cracking band, and when festivals return I’ll be heading straight to their tent.
LINK: The album release show will be on YouTube on Friday 26 March
Jazzrausch Bigband on Bandcamp