The raw, sprinting energy of the band was both infectious and astonishing, but what I most remember was a sense of cognitive dissonance. Was this the same combo that recorded a fantastic eponymous 2019 studio album that represented one of the most convincing, pleasurable, and driving hybrid's of searing post-bop and the production ethos of hip-hop? There have been endless stabs by producers trying to remap the machinations of an organic, all-acoustic jazz band with electronic post-production, but Eldh, channeling a sonic language heavily informed by J Dilla, nailed it in a way I'd never experienced before.
Having the trust of his three imaginative, high-octane saxophonists—Jonas Kullhammar, Otis Sandsjö, and Mikko Innanen—he used their grainy sound as raw material, smudging and smearing it like a painter creating new hues on a palette, and then extending, editing, and powering it up within the imperturbable grooves meted out by he and drummer Christian Lillinger. He didn't really alter the essential core of the band's performances. There's no question that a seriously burning quintet had laid the tracks down, even if the performances reflected the kind of concision many jazz groups adapt for a studio endeavor. But the way his jacked-up bass lines and Lillinger's impossibly peripatetic, stuttering rhythms buffeted the massed saxophones elevated Koma Saxo to plane all its own, and I repeatedly returned to that place—half the time trying to figure out what the hell Eldh had done, and the other half lost in giddy ecstasy.
The vinyl is delivered on heavy-duty tip-on sleeve, complete with an insert featuring liner notes by Peter Margasak, Andreas Müller, Matti Nives and Petter Eldh.