Band Website: www.myspace.com/panzerpappa
Label: Rune Grammofon Records
Label Website: www.runegrammofon.com
Release Date: 2012
Every-so-often along comes a band whose musical efforts transcend strict musical classification. Such is the case with Norway’s Panzerpappa who on the surface appear to be creating some highly adventurous Avant-Prog on their fifth CD entitled Astromalist. After all these guys, who came together in 1996 have made no secret about emulating the style of others such as Samla Mammas Manna and Univers Zero. And yet as we’ll see there is something more happening here. The band is made up of Steinar Børve (saxophone, Akai EWI, keyboards, percussion and programming), Trond Gjellum (drums, percussion, Korg Kaossilator, Tronofon, synth effects and programming), Anders K. Krabberød (bass guitars, percussion and additional piano-on 7) and Jarle Storløkken (electric and acoustic guitars, percussion and additional drums- on 4) and along with a lengthy list of musical helpers they have created a set of compositions that are accessible and yet clearly complex.
Astromalist is a speedy forty-three minutes, consisting of seven instrumental compositions running anywhere from four-minutes to just over nine. And while one can expect the usual angularity and busy musicianship there is rarely the dissonance one might expect. In fact I would reference the work of Robin Taylor, if you like that style there is much to enjoy here. As for influences, certainly the jazzy feel pokes it’s head up once in a while, but more than that I hear and modern classical inspiration running through these pieces. Layers of music all designed to be doing its own thing and yet when heard collectively it creates something much stronger, more complex and ultimately more satisfying. Every time I thought it was going to get too weird,Panzerpappa would surprise me with something more melodic or harmonious. Virtually every track has some melodic riffs that get special attention, played in a repetition that builds and keeps you in an expectant mood for what might be next. Does the music get “out-there” sometimes? Sure and some symphonic fans will struggle with this, But like the work of Robin Taylor’s Universe, the grooves Panzerpappa create bring you back and are totally satisfying.
If you are looking for something to stretch your musical listening skills Panzerpappa are the ticket. The music on Astromalist pushes and pulls in a number of different directions but in the end it crosses the finish line, a winner. It’s not the kind of music I listen to all the time, but I found myself coming back to it time and time again. It’s good stuff. You should check it out.