Personnel: Lars Horntveth (vocals, guitar, lap steel guitar, flute, clarinet, saxophone, piano, synthesizer, bass guitar, programming); Marcus Forsgren (vocals, electric guitar, synthesizer, programming); Line Horntveth (vocals, flute, euphonium, tuba, glockenspiel); Erik Johannessen (vocals, trombone); Andreas Mjos (guitar, synthesizer, vibraphone); Oystein Moen (piano, synthesizer, programming); Even Ormestad (bass synthesizer, bass guitar); Martin Horntveth (drums, tubular bells, percussion, programming, unknown instrument); Jorgen Træen (programming).
Audio Mixer: Jorgen Træen.
Recording information: Albatross Recorders, Oslo; EngfeltForsgren Studio, Oslo; Pooka Studio, Los Angeles; Pooka Studio, Oslo; Wallpaper, Oslo.
Photographer: Espen Hoydalsvik.
Arrangers: Jaga Jazzist; Lars Horntveth.
Growing in strength means shrinking the track list as the ever-evolving Jaga Jazzist begin to prefer suite-sized music on this 2015 LP. Two of the five cuts on Starfire pass the ten-minute mark, as the Norwegian ensemble blends jazz, space rock, and hippie-aimed trip-hop into one free-flowing mass of funk that deserves to stretch its legs. Consider it an earned exhale after the buttoned-up classicism of the previous album, Live with Britten Sinfonia, but whatever the reason, the highlights are the grooves that last the longest with "Big City Music," "Oban," and the title cut taking win, place, and show. The mood is free but heavy as ominous bits wind in and out, and while Starfire certainly isn't as game-changing as LPs like Agharta and Pangaea, the mood and spirit is that of Miles in the '70s, but with the mechanically precise rhythms one would expect from a group born in the era of acid jazz. ~ David Jeffries