Monkey Plot: Angående omstendigheter som ikke lar seg nedtegne
Norwegian release: 06.03.2015
International release: 24.04.2015
The members of the acoustic trio Monkey Plot have been playing together for five years. With acoustic guitar (Christian Winther), double bass (Magnus Nergaard) and drums (Jan Martin Gismervik), they have carved out an expressive idiom which evokes other musical references, but which is at the same time unique. They started out as a raw electric guitar trio belonging to a Hendrix-in-the-rough tradition, with a reputation for throwing bananas at their audiences. But at some point the plug was pulled from the socket, and the trio began to listen their way into a new and uncompromising acoustic expression.
Monkey Plot’s style is intimate and often unpretentious. It would seem more accurate to call it “music for small spaces” rather than the more formal-sounding “chamber music”. There is namely something straightforward and “grounded” about the band’s music. Although dramatic effect has been abandoned, their music has become neither boring nor lifeless. Monkey Plot is an improvisational band, in the sense that improvisation is the tool used by the trio’s members to make music. They describe it themselves as a simple method that gives a varied and organic result. The music is always pressing onwards. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to categorise their music as belonging within the improvisational genre. We suspect that Neil Young and Nick Drake are more influential sources of inspiration for guitarist Christian Winther than, for instance, Derek Bailey.
Monkey Plot’s first album, Løv og lette vimpler (Gigafon), was released in 2014. It was recorded at home in the living room of one of the Grand Old Men of free jazz, Frode Gjerstad. That same year the group won the Jazzintro competition, receiving the title “Young Norwegian Jazz Musicians of the Year” and a grant from Gramo, the Norwegian organisation responsible for collecting and distributing music royalties.
The band have toured extensively, and have held concerts in Norway, the rest of Europe and Asia. In the past year they have had several collaborative concerts with the Swedish poet and sound artist Pär Thörn, who is also the source of the album’s title, Angående omstendigheter som ikke lar seg nedtegne. The members of the band also play together in the experimental rock band Karokh.
Like previous winners of Jazzintro such as Urban Connection, In the Country and Albatrosh, Monkey Plot will certainly prove to be a major exponent of Norwegian jazz in the future, both in Norway and abroad.