Ghent, one of Belgium's best places for experimental music, has been spawning thousands of bands from every class and every genre over the past decades. I think that people from Ghent are also the most open-minded people in our country. So it's not really a surprise that Ghent is the birthplace of one our most respected labels, Consouling Sounds. Last september Consouling Sounds exploited a pop-up store at the Incubate festival. On one of their in-store gigs, the Nordmann-quarted (also from Ghent) played one of the most surprising sets of all bands in that venue. Now some of their music is available on CD and LP.
Nordmann use guitars, bass, drums and tenorsax to fill a niche between rock and jazz music. Once in a while they also borrow from ambient, post-rock and funk. Perhaps most of the music can be described as a highly catchy mix of Zu and Red Snapper. It's clear that all members are experienced jazz-musicians (students) but that they do not want to limit theirselves to that genre. Their love for rock music and experimentation created something very interesting and enjoyable for both rock and jazz lovers, but maybe a bit more for the latter. Songs like 'Ohm' are better suited for Ghent Jazz than for Pukkelpop or any other rock festival.
The most rock-related song on 'Alarm' is the title track, and on 'El Nino' Nordmann takes a shot at dark jazz. The sax gives the whole a warm, smoky atmosphere and the solid rhythm-section functions as a very strong foundation. This set-up is perfectly suited for a lazy sunday afternoon like this one. 'Lights' leans towards post-rock by floating over a repetitive loop. The last song, 'Nightwork', is probably the most noisy and experimental track, at times even reaching the destructive power of sludge metal. The majority of the unmentioned songs are mainly jazz-rock ballads, similar to some of the music in weird movies from the twenties, and to acts like Zappa or Bohren und der Club of Gore.
It's quite clear that Nordmann consists of four jazz-students who wanted to do something different with their knowledge and experience. They have been working their way up since 2012 and were the runner-up at Humo's Rock Rally (the biggest rock contest in Belgium). This LP, a cooperation of W.E.R.F. Records and 9000 Records (sub-label from Consouling Sounds), is definately a welcome addition to every jazz collection for every jazz-fan and for every experimental rock fan. However, conventional music lovers beware, for you this might be a bit too experimental and weird. These youngsters are well on their way to becoming a name in the jazz world, but I feel that they need a bit more rock-influences to win over the rockers. Yet, fact remains, this album is very, very nice.