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coverpic flag Netherlands - Full Moon 176 - 01/19/11


Balls and Kittens, Draught and Strangling Rain
Hubro / Musikkoperatørene

JÆ (or maybe Jay) is Dutchess Jessica Sligter, occasionally based in Oslo. She comes from Manywhere, according to her myspace hangout. Balls and Kittens, Draught and Strangling Rain (released in October) is her debut album, and, my-oh-my, it's a heart and soul touching piece of music. Something completely different, and amazingly stunning.

According to the label "...Hubro, a sub label to Grappa Musikkforlag, is a new record label dedicated to releasing music from the vital Norwegian jazz and improvised music scene. We cherish the album as a physical object." I like that. This is the labels needed to make sure music like this sees the light of day (even though this is merely night-time, or maybe twilight music...). JÆ is talented musician/singer/songwriter Jessica Sligter's solo project. Probably planned between Amsterdam and Oslo (her two locations in recent years, making her a... eh, flying Dutchwoman...). The album's recorded at Grand Sport Studios, Oslo, at Jessica's home, and it was mixed by Mark Nevers (of Lambchop fame), in Nashville. Just to add some more global class. There's been a number of musicians contributing to her songs, from Norwegian bands including Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, (Jenny Hval's) Rockettothesky, Splashgirl (Hubro stable mates), and Streifenjunko (a Norwegian tenor saxophone and trumpet duo). Hubro describes her music to be "...an eclectic mix of influences from folk, pre-war blues, jazz, classical music, free improvisation and more...". They also claim the music to be "...ragged and windblown, seductive and captivating, always with something unexpected lurking right around the corner...", which is quite a good description/depiction of JÆ. There are strange things to be found round every corner of the album.

The near 44 minutes of music (10 tracks) hold adventurous tales of the splendid and magical. Jessica 'JÆ' Sligter spins thrilling and challenging tales, musically as well lyrically. Some of her songs even come out as pretty catchy tunes, in their own, awkward way. It's hard to bag her music, but neo-folk ladies Helena Espvall and (slightly) Joanna Newsom could be namedropped. One could also imagine a blend of Susanna & the Magical Orchestra and CocoRosie, along with tiny drops from the leaves of history (without the drama) Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich and Billy Holiday. At least in attitude. I also come to think of some of the more low-voiced projects from the Elephant 6 family tree (or the neighbourhood).

An excellent album. My favourite tracks include: "Red Around the Eyes", "Jim's Place", "Song came from M.", "Over, the White Snow", and the fantastic "Reverse".

Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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