Norwegian jazz quartet Pixel are double bassist Ellen Andrea Wang, drummer Jon Audun Baar, trumpeter Jonas Kilmork Vemøy, and saxophonist Harald Lassen, and their latest release for Cuneiform Records is titled Golden Years. After a hectic 2014 consisting of many live performances, the band ushered themselves into the studio to create this exciting set of formidable jazz and pop, utilizing all the skills available from the entire band.
The opening trio of "Rainforest", "People Pleaser", and "Nothing Beats Reality" offer up classy, masterful modern jazz, as rumbling, intricate rhythms boil underneath soaring sax & trumpet melodies. Pop and indie flavors pop up on the light "Our Beauty", with vocals from the entire band adding in another element to their already enchanting sound. The sax & trumpet lines weave around each other on the dreamy yet brief "Arp", and the bright, upbeat "Move In" sees Wang's wonderful pop/jazz vocals reach out and grab the listeners heart & soul. She also takes the lead on the quirky "I Have the Right To Go to Syden" another little blending of pop and jazz featuring her exquisite vocals, and you have to wonder if a full album of material in this format might garner Pixel even more mainstream attention. The men join her on vocals for the laid back jazz of "Slinky", and as they do on the exploratory "Space Is Going to the Moon", a unique blending of jazz, avant-garde, pop, and progressive rock, with percolating rhythms and swirling melodies slowly building to bombast before eventually dropping to a calming climax.
Golden Years is quite unique and very enjoyable, bringing to the forefront elements of quirky jazz as well as alluring pop for a sound that is very accessible yet challenging at the same time. Both Pixel and Cuneiform have a lot to be proud of with this one.
People Pleaser 02:29
Nothing Beats Reality 05:01
Our Beauty 04:20
Dani Anana 04:11
Move On 04:53
I Have the Right To Go to Syden 02:54
Space Is Going to the Moon 04:42