Founded by jazz drummer and composer Olavi Louhivuori, Oddarrang is an experimental ensemble that draws as much inspiration from pastoral post-rock (say, Mogwai) and film music (Morricone) as it does from modern Scandinavian jazz as heard on many an ECM release of late.
As the album title suggests, there’s a strong cinematic feel to Louhivuori’s themes. In fact, several of the songs included on In Cinema, the group’s third album, were originally written to accompany Finnish short films.
Oddarrang’s unusual line-up of trombone, cello, guitar, acoustic bass and drums is key in adding character to the often sparse music. Especially Osmo Ikonen on the cello, Ilmari Pohjola on trombone and Lasse Sakara with his twangy delivery on the guitar play central roles here.
The Sage, for example, starts with a melodic interplay of guitar and plectrum-driven bass that slowly builds towards a majestic, highly moving ‘wall of sound’ fortissimo. The introspective and moody Cultivate & Contemplate is wholly different: an 11-minute meditation set to music.
Released by Dave Stapleton’s Edition Records, In Cinema is by far Oddarrang’s strongest album. It is both imaginative and accessible and, despite at times being just a bit serious, a joy to listen to.
Listen to Oddarrang