Bly de Blyant: ABC
Bly de Blyant’s debut album offers inspired, imaginative and rock-oriented music from a trio of improvisers that denies itself nothing. “Free improvisation is a method, not a genre,” wrote drummer Øyvind Skarbø (1982, Håkon Kornstad Tenor Battle) in the cover text. “As soon as it becomes a genre, you lose all your freedom.” In addition to Skarbø the trio comprises Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (Marc Ribot, Will Oldham, John Zorn) and Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson (Tyft, Jim Black, Trevor Dunn). Skarbø had collaborated with both Jensson and Ismaily on several previous occasions, but Bly de Blyant is the first project where all three are playing together. Freedom and the desire to release control are essential elements of ABC, an album that offers music ranging from jazz, math rock and unexpected miniatures to a Prince cover. The album was recorded at Grieghallen Studio, in Skarbø’s home city of Bergen, together with technician Davide Bertolini. Inspired by the old-fashioned method of recording music, they decided to place all the musicians in the same room, without headphones. “Shahzad had his corner, with a recently restored Hammond organ, an ancient Moog synth, and a beautiful Fender Precision bass from the early 70s that Davide let him borrow. Hilmar had his usual rig with a guitar and an extremely ingenious, meticulously thought-out pedal system, and I had my drums with calfskin heads and only two mikes for the whole set. So everything was touched with a little bit of nostalgia, which was more of an inspiration than a hindrance,” recalls Skarbø. Bly de Blyant will tour Europe in March 2013, and the USA and Canada in September 2013.