Kaizers Orchestra is beyond question the band singing in Norwegian with the greatest international success. For their substantial fan base across Europe they are no less than an institution. And their breed of balkanized, absinthian gypsy folk rock – with that characteristic flare of pre-modern existential zeal - juxtaposes perfectly, it seems, with the Norwegian accent with which singer Janove Ottosen relates the tales that form the spine of the songs. Because Kaizers’ songs are always narratives, told in the fusion of musical emotion and spoken words, and it seems that exactly because a story is being told the meaning of the words somehow breaks through the barriers of language. It is as if the music; the special energy and the unique vibe, works as a Babel fish: people grasp the point even tough they don’t, strictly speaking, understand a single word. -And perhaps it is better this way, perhaps a universal language, English, would only have taken away the somewhat enigmatic essence of the expression.
Kaizers have been, and are, a performance; a happening spectacle, and it has always been the byword that it is only live that one gets the true essence of their act. This is in many ways a huge compliment, and it is surely the reason why the band has fared so well across most of Europe. (And what they manifest on stage is a European spectacle; from the time when Europe was still a theatre of ideas and ideologies inhabited by people of unwavering commitment, belief and audacity.) Still, the emphasis on the live performances has taken focus away from their vocation as recording artists. At least that is the sentiment expressed by the band in relation to the work with the upcoming album. And it is something they are eager to move away from.
-“Maskineri” is not the fourth of the old albums, but the first of the new ones, says front man Janove “The Jackal” Ottosen to the Norwegian newspaper Adresseavisen. -We’ve left behind many of our ways and standard solutions, and are really eager to demonstrate how creative and innovative we are as a band, also in the studio. In a way we view it as our first proper album, for now we have the experience to make the album we really want to make, and the chance to choose people and places that are really right.
The album is recorded in Berlin and Los Angeles, and their regular producer has been substituted with Mark Howard, a Canadian who has worked with Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, U2 and REM.
-People simply can’t imagine how great this album is going to be, continues Ottosen; listeners will be overwhelmed by new ideas. E.g. we’ve made the marimba a new integral part of our sound, it will be with us forever onwards.
Some ingredients are untouchable tough, such as the oil drums, the intensity and the flushes of Slavic tonality. But judging by the sound of the first single released from the upcoming record, I enden av November (at the of November), out this week, it is still a truly new gestalt of Kaizers we’re in for: a little less benzene and bedevilment, a little more nuance and hushed emotions; complex, detailed and engrossing at the same time.
“Maskineri” will be released Feb. 18th. sd
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