I Left The Planet
I Left The Planet EP
It is amazing when time and oxygen can not touch and oxidize music; it feels like a billion years ago where anodic conditions of this “planet” could have kept our fragile existence untouched like life in a bottle full of formaldehyde. Of course, these are some speculations from a mind that Left This Planet for 15 minutes. I totally recommend, though, to return the turntable’s cartridge so as to get another 15 minutes off and another and another…
Seriously, “I Left The Planet” is Nordgaren’s best kept secret for 15 years now (15 years for 15 minutes, is there any coincidence??). The 3 songs of this release were recorded back in 1996 with the help of Czral (drums), Mari Solberg (saxophone), Ayna Beate Johansen (vocals), Bjorn Espen Almas (vocals, lyrics) and Per Amund Solberg (bass). You may recognize all of them because they have contributed on Fleurety’s material as well and they all give an outstanding performance in “I Left The Planet” too. Of course this material is beyond the metal boundaries (I doubt if one can call it metal at all) and taking into consideration that it was recorded in 1996 I feel like it bridges Fleurety’s Min Tid Skal Komme with Last Minute Lies. Dark Jazz/Blues with a unique avant-garde approach which is closer to what Fleurety presented with the Last Minute Lies MCD. In “I Left The Planet” I think Alexander Nordgaren let his jazz/blues influences swarm his mind and he combined them with the characteristic hypnotic Fleurety riffing.
The release starts with the “Diamond. Hazard” track and the intro part brings forth memories from Min Tid Skal Komme and then Ayna kicks in supported by a totally hypnotic and dizzy riff and then suddenly a hard blues/jazz part takes control, amazingly executed by Solberg and her saxophone. Sometimes, while I listen to this track, I have the feeling that Miles Davis is looking at me from a dark, smoke filled corner of my mind. Then, the paranoia returns, only this time it is driven until the end by the other Solberg whose bass gives such a groove you barely can do anything else but listen to it. A somewhat out of tone, yet cleverly placed, saxophone completes this section and “Dark. Blue” is emerging. One of the best moments in this EP is the intro part of “Dark. Blue”, a piece of funky, bass-driven awesomeness. Solberg and his bass are totally out control, Czral’s drumming is as well, and it is amazing how such a groovy and body-shaking pattern turns into a jazzy and slow one in which the spoken words remind me of Ulver’s new era. Of course Ulver brings “I Left The Planet” to mind, and this part evolves into a cold yet smooth passage with Ayna’s ethereal voice. Once again Alexander surprises with the transformation of the song into a metal, Fleurety-like rhythm section from the Last Minute Lies era without the industrial influences. Moving towards the end, the EP’s last track “Soft. Mad” starts with a spoken part which seems to me that it continues from where “Dark. Blue’s” spoken part left off. A classic melody of early Fleurety gives all the ingredients for Ayna to make the most mind-exploding and best jazz performance in this EP. In the last passage I get the feeling that Miles is staring at me again, maybe joined by Coltrane too. Now that the cartridge is back to rest I can not leave without a comment on the amazing packaging of the vinyl, featuring Kim + Trine’s amazing minimalistic artwork. The vinyl itself is pressed in heavy black wax, single sided at 45 rpm, with the other side being etched with the vinyl’s artwork. All these in only 274 copies, so act fast. This is a masterpiece of 15 years of age which finally breaths the same air as we do.