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Makajodama: Makajodama

Another Scandinavian band has completely blown me away and that band is Makajodama. The Swedish instrumental quartet has released their self titled debut album and a very good one it is. The band was formed by Mathias Danielsson (guitar, bass, organ, pedal steel, percussion, Korg WT 10), and includes other band members Karin Larsdotter (acoustic and electric cello, percussion), Johan Klint (acoustic and electric violin, organ) and Mattias Ankarbranth (drums and percussion). There are six guest musicians who help out playing a variety of instruments including bassoon and flute.

Every so often I come across a band that is difficult to describe and Makajodama fits that description. The music is definitely progressive, has a psychedelic vibe, and is rooted in the sounds of the early 70s. You could probably use King Crimson and to a lesser extent early Floyd as good reference points but keep in mind this is quite original stuff and not a copy cat of any band.

The band's use of guitar riffs is interesting as they are not overtly metallic and are less jarring so as not to dominate the surroundings. Makajodama produce some excellent melodies but with enough discordant rhythms and textures to keep things interesting. Violin and cello are also important as they are used extensively throughout these eight tracks adding a distinct flavour to the band's sound. The music twists and turns through various movements taking unexpected detours which makes for an intriguing listen.

The album's first tune "Reodor Felgen Blues" is also one of its highlights starting with a slightly off kilter melody of guitar and violin. Guitar rhythms are used to create a wall of sound with the buzz saw guitars eventually leading to a subdued section with violin and cello taking hold. The pace picks up and the rhythm section really shines with sinuous bass grooves and fine drum work. The serene guitar melody at the beginning of "Buddha and the Camel" recalls early Floyd and the psychedelic guitar solo later on will have you recalling the 70s in all its splendid glory. The string melody in "The Train of Thought" is one of the album's prettiest moments. Listen for the drumming of Ankarbranth on this one as his tone reminds me of Pink Floyd's "Time". "Wolof" is the album's shortest song recalling 70s acoustic rock at its finest featuring mellow acoustic guitar and more violin. Dreamy guitar chords and sublime violin give the slow moving "The Girls at the Marches" a spacey Pink Floyd vibe and a nice symphonic touch. The album ends with the mellow Eastern tinged "Autumn Suite" featuring the wonderful sitar of Stian Grimstad.

This is my favourite instrumental album this year and I cannot wait to hear what the band does next. Kudos to the band for spinning a fresh take on a retro sound and making such a finely crafted album.

Track Listing:
1. Reodor Felgen Blues (10:15)
2. Buddha and the Camel (9:25)
3. Wolof (2:31)
4. The Train of Thought (6:58)
5. The Ayurvedic Soap (7:42)
6. Vallingby Revisited (3:00)
7. The Girls at the Marches (8:16)
8. Autumn Suite (8:29)

Added: March 3rd 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's My Space Page
Hits: 2423
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Makajodama: Makajodama
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-03-03 11:00:38
My Score:

It's always refreshing to come across a piece of music, or even better yet a whole collection of music, that defies categorization, and yet amazingly this is something that Swedish instrumental quartet Makajodama have achieved on their first time out.

Musically billed as a collision of progressive and post rock should only be taken as a reference point, because that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the abundance of hidden treasures that lay in store for the listener on this wonderfully cohesive, eight song offering of written and improvised music.

There is certainly a progressive aura permeating throughout this album but you can distinctly hear other styles of music as well such as jazz, folk and classical, as their sound is fleshed out wonderfully by some absolutely gorgeous cello and violin playing.

Beginning with the opening track "Reodor Felgen Blues" you are taken on a ten minute, magical whirlwind of a ride full of interesting twists and turns. The band shifts gears numerous times throughout the course of this composition, as what turned out to be a rather subdued guitar and violin opening section, quickly evolves into something much more complex and exciting. Towards the latter half of the song the scorching guitar rhythm's and violin are slashing their way through and around the dense, muscular grooves laid down by the rhythm section with such intensity that it instantly reminded me of some of King Crimson's finest moments, circa Larks Tongues In Aspic. Shorter compositions such as "Wolof" features a delicate acoustic duet between guitarist Mathias Danielsson and violinist Johan Klint augmented by a sparse sounding percussive arrangement, while on "Vallingby Revisited" they dig into more of a jazzier arrangement, a song which also highlights some nice sax work from guest musician Gustav Nygren. However it's the lengthier excursions like "The Buddha and The Camel", "The Train of Thought", the sizzling avant-garde style violin jam on "The Ayurvedic Soap", the hazy atmospheres of "The Girls at The Marches", and the extremely multi-faceted arrangements and stirring sitar playing on the closing number " Autumn Suite" that will really have listeners marvelling at the superb compositional skills of these extremely talented musicians.

For almost an hour Makajodama will hold you firmly in the palm of their hands as they guide along on their journey, taking you down musical avenues that are as vast as they are diverse. What it all adds up to is not only some of the most refreshing music I've heard in a long time, but it's also one hell of an impressive and bold opening statement from this new Scandinavian outfit. Where they take their music next is anyone's guess, but I'm with them all the way after this one.

» Reader Comments:

Makajodama: Makajodama
Posted by Barry Cleveland on 2010-02-19 01:13:17
My Score:

I enjoyed reading Jon Neudorf's review of the Makajodama album. It is a great recording, but a tricky one to describe, and Jon did an admirable job. Cheers!

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