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KANAAN - Odense Sessions

Yes! The good news is that the spectacular Norwegian instrumental psych fusion power trio Kanaan has released the follow up to its debut "Windborne".

The bad news is... ha, did I have you there? Unsurprisingly there is no bad news. Well at least if you you're not expecting "Windborne 2" and you cannot live with anything else.

Because as the title "Odense Sessions" already hints at, this is not really the logical successor, but a different kind of record.

KANAAN - Odense Sessions (LP) (2020)

First of all this isn't a trio album, because Kanaan teamed up with Causa Sui guitarist Jonas Munk. And then it's also fully improvisational, apart from a couple of subtle keyboards which were added afterwards.

Adding another person to the mix and the spontanous session format lead to the inevitable side effect that Kanaan are dropping a bit of their individuality here. The opener "Seemingly Changeless Stars" is undoubtly a luscious jam, but even with Ask Vatn Strøm flexing his lead guitar tone here and there you could still sell this to me as a track from Causa Sui or who knows what other great psych rock group.

Then on the second track "Of Raging Billows Breaking On The Ground" drummer Ingvald Andre Vassbø immediately shifts to a different gear. With all his restraint from track one gone and the full jazz rock beast unleashed, this heavier, adventurous tunes is much more recognizable as the Kanaan I saw live in Hamburg last year.

"Vacant Spaces" sees the "Odense Sessions" quartet slowing down and chilling. And I am realizing that returning to one of my main go-to references for Kanaan, this record's relationship to "Windborne" might actually parallel the evolution of the Mahavishnu Orchestra from "Inner Mounting Flame" and "Birds Of Fire" to the live album "Between Nothingness & Eternity".
But this observation could also be bullshit, because I admittedly haven't treated my ears to all of those for a while.

What is undeniable though is that the "Odense Sessions" are less jazz and more psych than the debut. That should bother me on paper, because I have a slightly leading preference there, but in reality this stuff is way to good to even hold on to that nitpicky thought.

The last of the four jams on one LP grows to be the most explosive of the bunch, while also showcasing a heavy mordern Japanese kraut rock influence. If you told me that members of Kikagaku Moyo, Dhidalah or Minami Deutsch were involved in this one you could have easily fooled me.

So what's my take on the whole thing?

While it ultimately doesn't have any great significance how much instantly measurably Kanaan as you know them is in each track, what counts is that these jams all have a different, distinctive personality. And I love to spend my time with every single one of them.

Because in the end the all-encompassing truth is that not a minute goes by on this album, which isn't A+ premium food with extra vitamins for impro-psych connoisseurs.

Great band / sessions / sound / album / cover / ... / everything!

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