Review: Jakob Skøtt – All The Colours Of The Dust

My word, Jakob Skøtt is a talented so-and-so. And a busy one to boot. He is perhaps best known for being the drummer in Causa Sui, the instrumental Danish psych-rock outfit who have just released their tenth studio album, the sparklingly heady Return To Sky. With his bandmate Jonas Munk, Skøtt also co-founded El Paraiso Records which they use to release Causa Sui’s plentiful material as well as projects of a similarly experimental spirit. These include records by fellow Danish avant-rockers Papir, the jazzy multi-instrumentalist Brian Ellis and a heap of Causa Sui solo releases.

Skøtt has also designed live visuals and artworks for acts like Amon Düül II and Earthless and creates all the graphics for El Paraiso’s distinctively, coherently designed output. Somehow he also finds the time to produce his own solo material and All The Colours Of The Dust is the third instalment of his “drums verses synthesizers” sonic expeditions.An unusual brand of one-man improv jam, Skøtt lays down his drums tracks first and then goes back and pastes layers of crazy synth noises over the top. The result? Pretty distinctive, I’d say; part jazz fusion, part space rock, part ambient, part drone, part krautrock and all Skøtt.

The album opens with its most shamelessly indulgent piece, the 13-minute ‘Age OF Isotopes’. It’s a funky stomper, propelled forward by its powerful, perfectly recorded drumbeats and meaty bass-replicating synth chords while other wilder and lighter keyboard sounds float around the speakers. The tempo gets faster and faster as the track builds, threatening to spin completely out of control at certain points, before becoming moderately mellower towards the finale and ending with some nice relaxing Cluster-y ambience.

Its four sibling tracks clock in at around seven minutes each and, though they’re cooked from the same essential ingredients, each has its own individual flavour. The beats on ‘Face Peradam’ are especially intense but are counterbalanced by the cosmic nature of the atmospherics. The vibes of ‘The Variable’, meanwhile, have a vaguely Middle Eastern aroma and ‘Iron Nebula’ is defined by its swaggering organ drones. The shape-shifting polyrhythms of ‘All The Colours’ draw the album to a close, ending proceedings with a triumphant long-held synth chord as if to say, “yep, nailed it”.

Along with Skøtt’s astounding, octopus-like drum talents, what’s really impressive about his “verses synthesizers” work is the way it often sounds like he’s used guitars or horns at various points, even though all the music, bar the beats, is created from electric keys alone. The results outstrip many of the multi-membered full live bands that specialise in this style of electro-psych friskiness and certainly surpass the quality of what happens when most guys play with themselves, as it were.

Purchase the album via El Paraiso Records.

Written by JR Moores