Badun: Badun

Danish trio Badun's (Oliver Duckert, Brian Møller, Aske Krammer) self-titled debut album electronically updates the pioneering jazz-fusion of Weather Report and mid-70s Miles Davis. Though there are similarities to the Burnt Friedman-Atom Heart project Flanger, Badun's music is more restless and animated, a pulsating cyber-jazz mix of fretless bass, drums, vibraphone, guitar, electric piano, and electronics. The trio formed the group in 2001 as a vehicle for merging abstract digital sound design and the explorative spirit of ‘70s jazz-fusion but with one strict proviso: all sounds are generated, recorded, and manipulated by the band itself, though liberal post-production re-arranging of the material is allowed.

The music's jittery character lends the material an insectoid, obsessive feel—even the quieter pieces remain in constant flux throughout their duration—that does holds one's attention but doesn't camouflage the general lack of indelible melodies or themes. Put simply, Badun sounds less preoccupied with compositional matters than indulging its talent for seemingly-spontaneous improvisational flow. The opener “Turban” establishes the Live-Evil-styled template, as burbling electric pianos coast atop a broiling brew of cymbal splashes and percussive activity, while “Mælkebøtten” serves as a good showcase for Badun's inventive and simultaneously loose and tight drumming style. There's no question that Badun is an accomplished and proficient ambassador for its chosen style though, admittedly, listeners weaned on Mysterious Traveler, Birds of Fire, and Bitches Brew may be less enthralled than those new to the genre.

May 2007