Drummer Øyvind Skarbø’s trio Bly de Blyant, with Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson and Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (Marc Ribot, Will Oldham, John Zorn), have received glowing reviews for their two previous albums, “ABC” and “Hindsight Bias”. On their third album, called simply “The Third Bly de Blyant Album”, they have brought in percussionist Ches Smith (Marc Ribot, Mr. Bungle, Xiu Xiu) as a guest, and together they take the music in a whole new direction. The band’s third album is their most cohesive release to date.
“The Third Bly de Blyant Album”, however, was recorded directly on tape in a side room in Jakob Church in Bergen, and very little recording of additional tracks or editing was carried out afterwards. The soundscape is more naked and acoustic this time. The expression is also more disciplined, but the band is still brimming with creative power.
While the band formerly went into the studio with only sketches and simple ideas for songs, and let the music take shape in the studio, this time more of the material consisted of finished compositions. “Besides the two tracks we created together (‘Min mor er kvikk’ and ‘Handi’), Hilmar had written a song (‘Tundra’), and I wrote the rest,” says Øyvind Skarbø. He was imagining the sound of a vibraphone while composing. “I have been a fan of Ches Smith’s playing, and of his various bands, for a long time. I knew that both Shahzad and Hilmar were familiar with him already.” When it transpired that Ches was going to play together with Shahzad at Nattjazz in Skarbø’s home town, Bergen, in the band Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog, and that on top of that Hilmar was going to play with Arve Henriksen and Skuli Sverrisson at the same festival, plans for a new album began to take form.
“The Third Bly de Blyant Album” shows a new and exciting side of this creative and irresistible band.