Bly De Blyant – Hindsight Bias

hindsight(Hubro CD2539/LP3539)

Bly De Blyant is a trio of drummer Øyvind Skarbø from Norway, guitarist Hilmar Jensson from Iceland, and bassist, multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily from Brooklyn, NY.

Skarbø describes the opener, Jiddu, as an attempt to create a tune that could have been an outtake from Joni Mitchell’s Hejira album. It does have a nice, easy loping groove a la Mitchell upon which Jensson builds up quite a head of steam with increasingly distorted guitar.

Other tracks further seem to me to explore that idea, whether Skarbø intends it or not, of developing from disparate ideas outside of jazz and instrumental music. Laura has a three-chord guitar riff worthy of Nile Rodgers, alongside which Ismaily improvises on singing Moog; Michael Jackson Pollock speaks for itself, with a frantic dancing aspect to some splattering guitar, drums and electronics.

At the more abstract end of the band’s creations is the title track, which includes found sounds of jangling keys and distant conference noises as well as a slow stately tune played by Jensson. Bunker Hill features marvellous lumpy drumming and a powerful solo from guest saxophonist Kjetil Møster. There are also two freely improvised tracks, the second of which, The Eighteen Irascibles, has chiming banjo and a groove which reminds me of David Crosby’s ’70s solo album.

Of this band, Skarbø says on his website: “We start off playing compositions heavy on jazz information, and end up improvising strange rock.” I like that.

  • To buy Bly De Blyant’s Hindsight Bias go here.


Categories: CD review

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