Great Curves

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Rotoscope's debut manages to bring together aspects of jungle/drum'n'bass and glitch-based electronica with genuine jazz-based improvisation, as well as some pop song elements, and not have it come out sounding contrived or superficial. This alone is remarkable considering how many times the jazz-meets-electronica hybrid approach has been tried unsuccessfully over the years. Beyond that, Great Curves is enjoyable from a pure listening standpoint, doing a nice job of mixing together its noisier and more experimental components with its prettier, more easygoing ones. There is plenty of variety on this album from one track to the next. Parts of it (e.g., "The Bogota Sub" and "Pink Soda") sound like sophisticated European lounge jazz given a liberal remix treatment, while other tracks present the jazz and electronic elements as equals: "Cooks Whip, Music Goes On" pairs an extended tenor saxophone solo with a diced-up hip-hop beat, and "Noiserock Orkesterissa" pits a fusion-ish electric piano solo against an active drum'n'bass backdrop. (Keep in mind that this is a Norwegian group, so the word "jazz" does not imply "blues-based"; the harmonies are much softer around the edges than most American straight-ahead jazz, although without ever crossing the line into syrupy smooth jazz territory.) "Carpet Illusions," which features singer Christine Sandtorv's wispy lead vocals floating over a bed of keyboards and electronic static noises, is the closest thing to a song in the traditional sense. Despite the variety, there is a good track-to-track flow throughout the album, as well as a consistent, cool-headed mood that gives a sense of unity to it all.

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