No matter how much music I listen to or write about, it seems that I am constantly introduced to acts and artists who’ve been turning out music for X years without my ever hearing of them. Case in point: Green Isac. From what I read on the Spotted Peccary web site, Andreas Eriksen and Morten Lund have been going strong for 25 years. And yet it’s only now, when they’ve expanded their roster and added the word “Orchestra” to their name that I get to experience this excellent blend of world styles, jazz-informed structures, and cinematic New Age sensibilities. The array of instruments brought into play here is impressively global, and the styles, although most have a bit of Middle Eastern flair, cover pretty fair ground as well. The jazz influence shows up nicely in the piano-fronted “Algebra,” accented with smooth strings and a bit of a Latin feel to the drums. “Hapi” catches me with its chugging rhythm, collection of percussion, and the way in which it slithers along. The guitar work here — or at least I think it’s guitar —adds to that feel, the sneaky way the notes slip out and rise up. I like the dark edge to this track, particularly in the very beginning. It’s got power. “Dr. One” is another mildly dark track that also offers up touches of tribal — strong drums and the sharp ceramic snap of a ghatam (yes, I looked it up). A growl like didgeridoo slips into the mix, which is always a bonus point for me. There is an exhilarating break in “57 Varieties” that blows me away each time it comes around. It’s this sudden rock surge that throws out the crunchy world feel that you’ve been enjoying, and it comes so fully exuberant and loaded with energy that it just sweeps you up. Pure joy.
I don’t know how long-time fans of Green Isac will greet this new direction, but as someone who has just discovered them via this release, it’s made me want to hear what I’ve been missing all these years. This has taken its place as a wind-down, end-of-day listen for me, soothing enough in its rich world-music organics to take the edge off, but with just enough vibrancy and vivacity to not simply slip into the background. Listening close reaps some nice rewards as the production work, as always the case with Spotted Peccary releases, is impeccable. Great, refreshing work from Green Isac Orchestra.
Available from Spotted Peccary.