Monday, 8 May 2017

ADHD6, ADHD, May 2017

Missing their jazzahead performance back in 2015 - among most-liked ones of my jazz professional friends in there at that time - I know I would not make the same mistake when I first saw two months ago that Icelandic jazz band ADHD is visiting Cloud Nine of Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht for a live performance on March. A single seamless set of almost 90 minutes, which is full of tensional swinging between too many different textures both in electronic and acoustic world and improvisational patterns sourcing both from jazz and rock genres, pushed me directly to the sales corner after the performance and I could not help myself buying as much as I can from their rare -pressed and released in Iceland previously- albums. Luckily, I had also the last album ADHD6, which includes most of the tunes played in the performance and is being released now in May. So, here is what I have to say after listening to the ADHD6 several times following that night.

Even though it is presented in eight individual tracks, this album can be described as a single (or two set at most) performance of around 45 minutes, where certain differences in rhythms and main themes create the boundaries of separate pieces. Even just with this organic structure, one can easily notice that the roots of the musical and social relationship between band members is a long established one.

The album starts with a track called MAGNÚS TRYGVASON ELIASSEN, which is also the name of the drummer of the band. The main line seems to be constructed on the keyboarder DAVÍÐ ÞÓR JÓNSSON's dark bass lines and carried by the modest theme delivered by the saxophonist ÓSKAR GUÐJÓNSSON. The rise and fall of the tension is successfully controlled by the drummer throughout the piece and the soft guitar touches by ÓMAR GUÐJÓNSSON seems like the last ingredient in this minimal, yet very sophisticated, sonar stew. The last distortions of this first piece sounds like turning into the first random sparks of the creation in the second number, LEVON. The cool bass line from Omar's bass guitar brings the scattered pieces together down to the ground and is accompanied by the shuffles of the keyboards. The sax is kind of a free format poem over this top notch rhythm line. Some high pitch feedback tones carried from this piece turns into the third track SPESSI, which sounds like carrying two very separated themes using stage one by one. The first one feels as if we are in a cool-lounge performance while the other one plays like a Nordic ballad with some naïve melodies from the saxophone. The bass line getting mushy and the drum-line turns into psychedelic patterns with the keyboard through the end of this third track. REBROFF is born as an amazingly touchy ballad-like sax partition connected to this crowded end. All the accompaniment made by the other instruments are consistent with this ambience. The solo part from the guitar and its tone in general are two very impressive highlights not only for this piece but for the whole album.

ALLI KRILLI looks like the first piece of the second set and carry some very catchy lines especially performed by saxophone. The band somehow manages to decrease the bpm of the whole performance gradually and keeps on playing the same tune - for me it is like zooming into a great landscape from Iceland. The electrical content from the keyboard and guitar, which almost sounds like a natural sound from underneath the earth, is really impressive in this piece. FYRIR RÚNA is the pure Nordic number in the album especially with its melancholic keyboard lines and spacious saxophone performance carrying lots of air inside - very successfully recorded indeed. TVÖFALDUR VİKINGUR increases the energy a little bit and moves us back into an interesting psychedelic-lounge genre based on continuous drum and deep bass riffs surrounded by an electric ambient and propelled by a naïve saxophone, which I am sure sounds strange as a genre description. MED İVARI closes the album with a gradually slowed-down and dignified tempo. It somehow sounds like a conclusion for the whole album carrying familiar textures from some of the other pieces.

The recording, mixing and mastering of the album seem like to be achieved well - although the complex sound palette is distributed over several layers and the dynamic range is very high, the instruments can be easily located in individual places within a wide stage. Plus, being able to hear the saxophone this much detailed and natural in an album, which is heavily allocated with electronic-based rhythms, is giving a certain feeling of reliance about the quality in general to the listener .

Even though there are now 6 albums from ADHD, I strongly recommend you listen them live because these guys were really born to play live. What you can get from the album is at most half of what's really going on with the concerts. Here is their tour program from their own website:

...and here is a sample from one of their latest live performances:


  1. Very interesting as usual! I am curious to listen now :)

  2. Very, very interesting jazz from this incredible land, Iceland. Don't miss the craddle of the 6th album, the Bryggjan Kaffihus at Grindavik.