Jazkamer: Balls the Size of Texas, Liver the Size of Brazil

Jazkamer's (Norwegian musicians John Hegre and Lasse Marhaug, previously known as Jazzkammer) Balls The Size Of Texas, Liver The Size Of Brazil perpetuates the bleak style of last year's Panic while also deviating from it. Whereas the material on the 2006 release is presented in a single movement, the new release features seven settings of manipulated spoken word passages (“6A Bucket of Mayo”) and slow-motion guitar drones (“Tentacles of Broken Teeth,” whose whistling tones stretch across immense plains).

Opening an album with seven minutes of doctors discussing and demonstrating the varying sounds of systolic murmurs (muffled beat patterns) (“God Damn this Ugly Sound”) may try some listeners' patience (indeed, two minutes would suffice) but enough good material follows to justify sticking around. The deep gouges of vinyl surface-noise that end the piece effect a nice segue into “Blues for Sterling Hayden,” a twelve-minute, guitar drone exercise dominated by shredded tones, feedback, and dive-bombing effects. For those who like that sort of thing, “Not Half Bad to the Bone” presents a merciless, five-minute noisefest that would do Merzbow proud, but the album's key piece is the sixteen-minute title setting, an epic guitar drone that unfurls glacially in a haunted haze of howling tones, and which comes across like the magisterial spawn of Stars of the Lid and No Pussyfooting's “The Heavenly Music Corporation.”

June 2007