Cloroform - All-Scars ©1999 Musikkoperatørene AS
1. Stereophonic Reproduction
2. Spasm
3. Blowjob Intermezzo
4. Ain't It Dead Yet?
5. Don't Be Scared
6. Christianity
7. Piece For Prepared Piano
8. Brainwashed
9. A Man
10. Fistfunk
11. The Cloroform Theme
12. The Second Opinion
13. Call Me God
14. Laryngetomisme
15. Can Your Band Do This?
16. Tox

To many readers of this site, it might come as a surprise that there are good Norwegian bands that don't play some form of heavy metal. Cloroform is a good example: Take three jazz and rock'n'roll boys with a screwy sense of humour and who obviously have more than a passing interest in guys like John Zorn and Mr Bungle, and then let them start a band. What is the result? 'Tis somewhat hard to say really. I won't use that horrid "avant garde" term, as it's becoming quite a bloated carcass of a term these days. Think of a mix of filthy old porno soundtracks (like the brilliant "Shit Sushi" 7"), some upbeat instrumental rock'n'roll ala Bomboras, a good amount of fun and games, some good jazz-musician types, then smack it all together and throw it through a cartoon-filter. You'd probably not get this, but it might not be too far off.

The band consists of three members. Øyvind Storesun takes care of bass-duties, usually laying out some insanely groovy basslines, and improvising 'round them. His riff in "Fistfunk" would probably make Bootsy Collins slap his knee and make one of those silly sounds he's so prone to yelp out, due to sheer excitement. Børge Fjordheim takes care of the drums, and smacks them around in appropriately jazzy fashion, though he's usually going for a rock'n'roll-groove but with more leeway in his playing than is normal in that genre. He never really overindulges himself in crazy-ass Tony Williams-type drumming, nor into "look what I can do!" drumming ala Hellhammer (of Mayhem, Arcturus, Kovenant, and roughly fifty-seven other bands fame). Finally we have John Erik Kaada playing, no no, not the guitar, but piano, keyboards and samples. He certainly gets free reign on here, as there's one insane amount of samples being bandied around, and tampered up with till they sound like total satan. His playing tends to be quite jammy, soloing all over the place. It's usually quite tasty though, there's no superduper-speed scale-wanking or anything like that, so don't expect frickin' Jordan Rudess here.

There's no particular type of song here, as they try their hand at various styles. But usually the songs are driven by a bass-riff, and occationally does sudden changes into completely different territories ala Naked City, though not at quite as high paces. The music tends to be midpaced, or even slow. With a few parts where they go into overdrive, like the aforementioned "Fistfunk". Luckily the band doesn't just wrap themselves up in their indulgences without making anything particularly listenable, rather the songs grab you by the shoulder and drag you with them through various themes and variations, never letting up. What makes or breaks an instrmental group is naturally that they must have some great riffs and melodies - not to mention songs that truly feel like they're taking you somewhere, which is something Cloroform truly excell at. The melodies are usually done on the keyboard, with some excellent old-skool-sounding sounds chosen - only thing lacking would be a cameo by our old friend, the mellotron. Naturally, the quality of the songs vary a bit, but the general standard is still very high, with no songs actually being downright bad, just not quite up to the standard of the best pieces.

If you'd like a band that tries to do something a bit out of the ordinary, and who have a knack for writing some pretty damn good, and quite accessible songs, you should certainly give Cloroform a try. I, for one, can't wait to get my hands on the rest of their releases.

Review by Øystein H-O

Review date: 03/2001

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