The second release on Smalltown Supersound's highly promising offside jazz label, 'Le Jazz Non Series' follows Bendik Giske and Buttechno’s mighty label opener with a killer compilation bursting with contemporary/outsider Norwegian free music as a show of solidarity against racism in the scene, with a title that translates to "Freejazz against racism“.
Stitched and compiled by Anja Lauvdal and Tine Hvidsten, the set features 18 outsider Jazz burners centered around a varied and diverse cast of characters from the young Norwegian scene. While Norway has long had a positive relationship with free music, its players have invariably looked remarkably similar. "Frijazz mot rasisme" aims to address that by expressing the diversity of Oslo's contemporary scene and show its commitment to anti-racism; of the players featured on the record, many are regulars at Norwegian demonstrations against local anti-Muslim organization SIAN - with the compilation designed to collect funds for local anti-racist work.
Musically, "Frijazz mot rasism" is a fractal head-fry of the highest order, dilating a fertile movement thru spiraling outsider-jazz. If musical nodes are needed for a point of reference, it flexes from Don Cherry-inspired communal psychedelia sprawlers to fiery shredders, modal percussive cyclones and lushly expressive instrumental virtuosity of a sort we can only imagine would short-circuit and frazzle a pack of bleating Viking gammons.
With well over half the tracks originating from female artists, the set also represents a phase shift in perception, wickedly reprising the form’s historic function as fire music and a soundtrack to civil unrest, but with a decided female energy that’s more agitant than aggressive, in a way that might just calm and enlighten the xenophobes.
There’s a tonne to get down with; Sanskriti Shrestha & Andreas Wildhagen’s modal tabla groover ‘Eight hands’ is a real standout, with subtle treats in the liminal thizz of ‘Up There’ by Propan, and a strikingly stark solo performance by Inga Aas, held in balance with tussling razz-outs like ‘One out of town’ feat. Brian Sandstrom, and scatting, Dadaist mischief by Agnes Hvizdalek that’s sure to pique interest along with the chaotic swarm of its shred-out finale ‘Primary Antibody’.