Karokh
.
Oslo based septet Karokh, are a band whose music would, in the past, have fitted seamlessly into the erstwhile musical landscape of The Old Grey Whistle Test.   Today it  would most certainly be a dish fit for the a la carte menu served up on Later with Jools Holland (PR people, take note!).
 .
Karokh is  comprised of musicians from various outfits such as Monkey Plot, Bendik, Girl, and ICH BIN N ! NTENDO, and its roll call looks a bit like this:
 .
Ina Sagstuen – vocals, Thomas Husmo Litleskare – trumpet, Christian Winther – guitar, Jonas Cambien – synthesizers,  Jan K Hovland – synthesizers,  Magnus Skavhaug Nergaard – bass and Jan Martin Gismervik – drums.
 .
Karokh cites its genre as “alternative/rock”, but to be honest the music seems more in the vein of experimental jazz; well at least it does on current single, ‘Poke’.
.
‘Poke’ is like a mash up of Röyksopp, some obscure New Orleans Jazz combo and a troupe of free-form Brazilian street artists. Languid guitar riffs, loose percussion and spare synth sequences funked up with noise-pop brass sounds, make for a lazy groove with a sort of early 90s Primal Scream vibe.  The vocal is a colourful coupe de foudre which, when it kicks in, sends one scurrying through long since archived memories of new wave / punk protagonists like Ari Up, Honey Bane, and Claudia Brucken.
.
Cover Art Ida Kristine Gismervik Hatleskog
Cover Art Ida Kristine Gismervik Hatleskog
.
“Your smooth skin an untouchable sin, Give new life & meaning to the breath of the believers of a new sin – And as you poke him in his back with your glands, In a fiery, feisty dance, Your tongue plays with the word, “Hello”, “Hello” – He will not hear, not even your fear, So rest your thoughts for ryhythm & punch.”
.
The lyrics are a bit ‘off-the-wall’ obscure, but then again, that fits in with the whole non-conformist direction, or lack thereof, that this song has taken.   It’s not that the track lacks direction per se, far from it, it’s that it deliberately lacks a “structured structure” if that makes sense.  The whole thing is as loose as a rag doll, and that folks is its strength, as it is this laxity that allows for completely uninhibited expressiveness.
 .
This is free-form experimentation at its most skilled, with each individual participant not just being given the freedom to play how they want, but more importantly, the space to be heard.
.

At over six minutes, ‘Poke’ doesn’t so much flow as dawdle, albeit with a swagger. From the tiny weird synth squiggles over that spicy jazz sound (very Bowie Blackstar), to the mini-‘noise’ riffs permeating the riotous funky jam of the outro, this is a track that Permeates (with a capital P).  It seeks out your inner wanderer, merrily takes their hand and leads them unfettered, into the great, adventurous beyond of as yet unexcavated musical digs.

‘Poke’ is the type of track one hears played in Soho coffee bars being dissected by bearded young men in peaked beanie caps and cords.  Oh! to be a fly on those walls!

Karokh play Phonofestivalen 19th – 23rd Jan.  The single, ‘Poke’, is available now via NO FOREVERS – click here for details of digital/stream.  The albumNeedle, Thread and Nail Polish’ is scheduled for release on 18th March.  To keep up to date with Karokh’s music news and their plans for 2016 follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
.


 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Single Review : Karokh – ‘Poke’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s