JONO EL GRANDE: Neo Dada (Rune Grammofon)

By

Posted on Jun 23rd 2009 11:54 pm

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (1)

Jono El Grande: Neo Dada

JONO EL GRANDE
Neo Dada
RCD2084
Rune Grammofon 2009
07 Tracks. 42mins21secs

Icon: arrow Buy: CD | LP | MP3 | iTunes
Icon: arrow Stream: Soptify

Jono El Grande is something of an oddball. Jon Andreas Håtun as he is known to his parents landed on Rune Grammofon six years ago with Fevergreen, a rather strange album which appears to fearlessly blend prog rock, pop, orchestral film music and jazz into one hell of a melting pot. Heading a formation of nine musicians, Jono El Grande brought down boundaries that no-one, with the exception of a rare few, ever considered could even exist.

With Neo Dada, Håtun and his colourful big band revive their shambolic fanfare and progress further into prog-jazz-watnot land, relentlessly kicking the ghost of Zappa out of the way to make way for their own exotic vision. As ominous electric guitars are placed directly against delicate string work, medieval-sounding themes come crashing on toy pianos and nostrils are dimmed good enough to be credited as instruments, there is, it seems, very little logic in all this chaos. If anything, Fevergreen is remembered as a gentile pastoral promenade in comparison, but this apparent anarchy is, in fact, a well rounded and regimented affair. Behind its eccentric attires, Neo Dada hides truly delightful moments, like the delicate string interlude heard just past the half way mark on Oslo Coty Suite, or the cheesy synth which flutters aimlessly over Big Ben Over. Everything is there for effect, yet, also serves the purpose of the record itself, creating an utterly oblique fantasy land.

Whatever Jono and his troop pile on this record manage to somehow find a place and this is certainly no mean feat. Of course, at times, this album is just too baffling for words. When, following the rather ornate Your Mother Eats Like A Platipus and the relatively tamed Big Ben Over, Three Variations On A Mainstream Neurosis bursts into an aggressive slab of power pop, it seems as the whole thing as just spontaneously combusted around the band and is totally beyond any hope of repair. To add to the confusion, the various members take turn to provide vocal contributions, on Neo Dada (Hans Martin Austestad), Ballet Morbido In A Dozen Tiny Movements (Jono) or Choco King (Bård Bratlie), often disguising their voice by veering into guttural depth or pirouetting falsettos to push the theatricality of the compositions to the limit.

Whereas Fevergreen demonstrated a certainly degree of restraint, Neo Dada sees Jono El Grande and his orchestra intrepidly hurling any genre that is likely to throw the lot off balance into the mix, and vigorously stirring it all until it becomes surprisingly palatable. In all respects, this latest effort is more demanding, and not as instantly likeable, than its predecessor, and it occasionally suffers from the band’s heavy-handed approach, but the musicianship feeding this infernal machine is such that, in the end, the pluses far out-weight the minuses.

3.8/5

Icon: arrow Jono El Grande | Jono El Grande (MySpace) | Rune Grammfon
Icon: arrow Buy: CD | LP | MP3 | iTunes
Icon: arrow Stream: Soptify

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (1)

One Response to “JONO EL GRANDE: Neo Dada (Rune Grammofon)”

  1. […] the album, recorded with a nine piece orchestra, managed to be at once cheesy and über cool. Neo Dada, published six years later, paid an even more open tribute to Zappa than its predecessor by turning […]