Skadedyr: Culturen

Norwegian release date: 11.03.2016
International release: May 2016
“Skadedyr’s the kind of outfit that’s as happy serving up moments of raucous psychedelia as others peaceful and melodious, and able to comfortably switch between them in a flash.”
Textura (CA)
Skadedyr is something out of the ordinary. The group consists of 12 musicians in all, and an even larger number of instruments. With a brass section, guitars, keyboards, vocals, two drummers, strings and accordion, they are positively bursting with musical images and narratives. Their music is both accessible and uncompromising, and stylistically they could be described as an octopus, whose tentacles reach out to a multitude of musical genres.
In the course of a short time Skadedyr has achieved a reputation as a dynamic live band, and the new album approaches their live spirit more closely than their debut album, “Kongekrabbe”, which had a more stringent form of expression. This time we encounter a more acoustic-sounding band, and it is easier to hear that this is a more of a coordinated team than before.
Skadedyr was initiated by Heida Karine Jóhannesdóttir Mobeck and Anja Lauvdal. They were also responsible for the imaginative material on the debut album, but on this second record several of the other band members have also contributed material. The album is mostly instrumental, but as on the debut album one poem by Ivar Aasen is included: the title cut, “Culturen”.
The members of the band are extraordinarily active, and are known from an increasing number of other exciting musical contexts. Even so, they all agree that Skadedyr is a band with a capital B, not a project. Broen, Jenny Hval, Susanna, Moskus, Snøskred, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Skrap and Hullyboo are just a small number of the projects that various members of the band are currently involved in.
“Culturen” was recorded and mixed by Morgan Nicolaysen at Propeller Studio in Oslo.
Avilable as CD, 180g LP and DL.




  1. Besetninga til det store bandet Skadedyr er mest uendra frå debutplata Kongekrabbe som kom ut hausten 2013. Berre Øystein Aarnes Vik har erstatta Joakim Heibø på trommer, men mykje anna er ikkje som for to og eit halvt år sidan. På debuten stod initiativtakarane Anja Lauvdal og Heida Karine Johannesdottir Mobeck for komposisjonanen. No deler dei ansvar med den andre trommeslagaren Hans Hulbækmo og gitaristen Lars Ove Fossheim. Arrangementa er som på første plata gjorde i felleskap. Culturen er, ikkje overraskande, ei langt meir velluka plate enn debuten. Det er fleire grunnar til det. For det første har røynsle på scena hjelpt på sjølvtilliten og lagt grunnlaget for ein tettare ensemblesound. For det andre har dei makta å ta med seg noko av det fanden-i-valdske frå konsertane. Det er ein heilt annan glød frå Culturen. Eit tredje moment er at komposisjonane står svært godt til einannan og skaper ei verk-kjensle. Skadedyr føyer seg inn i ein fargerik flora av europeiske store ensemble. Nokre av desse har i særleg grad inspirert dei unge norske barrikadestormarane. Nederlandske ICP og Carla Bley er i alle fall sporbare. Det er forresten berre slik det skal vera. Tittelsporet er oppkalla etter teksten til Ivar Aasen frå 1866. Teksten blir reistert av Ina Sagstuen med eit tonefølgje som kunne vore henta frå repertoaret til Brotherhood of Breath. Supert! Berre så altfor kort… Kven treng Monsanto når ein har slike Skadedyr?
    – Dag og Tid, Lars Mossefinn (N)

  2. Skadedyr is clearly more interested in creativity than convention. With an ensemble this large, it’s particularly impressive to hear the players converge with a nod of the head or a flick of the baton. And when an eleven-minute track is filled with traffic noises and false musical starts, the entire playbook seems to be rewritten: that is, until the final 3:27, which would fit perfectly on a 45 and fool everyone who heard it. All the more joy, then, when the closer is also of pop single length and even finds room for Norwegian spoken word. It’s as if the band is saying, “we sometimes like to play this sort of music too, but not always, and we offer it to you as a present for being so patient.” And this is the beauty of the band: it makes its own rules, yet continues to give the people what they want, even if they’re not sure they want it until they’ve heard it.
    – A Closer Listen

  3. Hanging out on the fringes of modern jazz, the 12-member Skadedyr sometimes sound like the envelope-pushing indie jazz of Todd Sickafoose and Chris Lightcap, then other times they just blow right past that envelope and break into a Beatles psychedelic pop akin to that of Olivia Tremor Control. No better example of this exists on their new album Culturen than opening track “Datavirus,” which switches from a pop-infused jazz stroll before shifting into folk territory that accentuates melodic beauty as much as it does delivering a catchy tune. Second track “Muggen Loop” is merely an effects-laden extension of the opener, as well as a precursor for the electronic experimentation that shapes this recording. The sprawling “Bie” shows their talents at both minimalism and complex structural builds. Same can be said for “Trålertrall,” though the picture is framed with dissonance and comforting harmonic waves. The album ends with the title-track “Culturen,” bringing the album full circle by incorporating the elements that opening track “Datavirus” was built upon. But where the opener segregated those elements into two halves of the same song, the finale “Culturen” brings them into the fold, combining them into a single expression. It’s a nice way of wrapping things up, and it’s a satisfying conclusion to this intriguing album.
    – Bird is the Worm, Dave Sumner (US)

  4. This is less a group than a mob. What you’ve got here is a total of 12 musicians with enough instruments to fill a removal van that occupies a brass section, guitars, keyboards, vocals, two drummers, strings and accordion. Knowledgable fans will recognise the band names that the band members have been attached to, from the likes of Broen, Jenny Hval, Susanna, Moskus, Snøskred, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Skrap and Hullyboo. Skadedyr was created by Heida Karine Jóhannesdóttir Mobeck and Anja Lauvdal, the prime movers on the debut release but not so much on this LP which sees contributions from a variety of other band members. Although an instrumental piece, in the main, there is one vocal contribution but it’s offered to the ear in the shape of a poem by Ivar Aasenon, the title track. So what is this music? A lazy label might be jazz and in a rather avant or freeform direction at times although melody does play a strong part in the LP as a whole but the melodic constructions can be challenging while the arrangements are tonally complex. Datavirus, for example, has an intriguing interplay of rhythm: not just in terms of the instruments but the voices too. Yes, this is an instrumental piece but voices are arranged as integral instruments too. In audiophile terms, the record label has been given quite a task in terms of mastering. This is not only a large group – so there is much to capture on these grooves – but there are many instruments playing all at the same time. Not only that, there is a wealth of variation in terms of what is playing and when. You’ve got to be careful of levels, microphone placement, the subtleties of some instruments compared to the ‘bigness’ of others and more. The label, in short has done a great job. There is clarity and space here that allows every ‘voice’ to have its say. Whether that be brass, piano or more delicate secondary percussion. The result is a richness is terms of the soundstage and a complexity that just adds to the enjoyment.

  5. Skadedyr’s Culturen is, for me, a unadulterated pleasure from beginning to end. All that creativity on the trio disc is translated into the 12-piece democratic/anarchist collective but there is a more consistent funkiness to the music and a lot of low brass fun at its heart which makes it more accessible. Datavirus opens the album, the second from this band, with a trombone solo underpinned by a repeating piano figure and then it suddenly changes to a country-folk guitar pattern with brass accompaniment and some Zappa-ish dead-pan humour before a fiddle tune weaves its way forward. By the time the nine-minute piece comes to an end we’re having a gentle sing-along and a knees-up. Bie is a slow builder with a catchy repeating, sunshiney hook holding it all together before it also makes a sudden swerve into darker territory, returning to a conclusion which melds the sun and darkness. Trålertrall is an atmospheric piece with what could be static or the breath through saxophones extended to a drone with snatches of melody from instruments and voices emerging and receding from time to time. It then opens out into held horn chords against a drum and electronics groove. The album closes with the gorgeous title track, a poem spoken and then sung in, I assume, Norwegian, and with another hugely catchy groove beneath it, including some of the lushest tuba basslines I’ve ever heard, underpinning intersecting guitar, piano, accordion and brass motifs. Skadedyr continue the sense of fun shown by bands like the Mothers of Invention, Loose Tubes and Jaga Jazzist and do it in a way all their own. Lovely stuff!
    – The Jazz Breakfast, Peter Bacon (UK)

  6. Liebhaber von Musik jenseits aller Sparten und Konventionen dürfte es freuen, dass die 12 Damen und Herren von Skadedyr drei Jahre nach dem mitreißenden Debüt einen Nachfolger vorgelegt haben. Bei dem Programm, das die Mitglieder in ihren sonstigen Bands in den letzten Jahren verfolgt haben, ist umso beeindruckender, dass ein zweites Album nicht nur überhaupt zustande kam, sondern auch, dass es die Qualitäten des Debüts in mehrfacher Hinsicht übertrifft und in gereifter, verdichteter Weise darauf aufbaut. Obwohl hier die Stücke nicht mehr aus »einer« Hand stammen wie zuvor bei der CD »KONGEKRABBE«, sondern von verschiedenen Mitgliedern komponiert wurden, wirkt »CULTUREN« nicht nur kompakter und prägnanter, sondern zugleich auch mitreißender und verspielter. Die sechs Stücke, von denen die Hälfte epische zehn bis elf Minuten lang sind, vermitteln sehr gut, mit welcher Fantasie und Spielfreude die Musiker/innen auch bei ihren beliebten Konzerten auftrumpfen. Stark, wie Skadedyr Avantgarde-Geräuschmusik, fröhliche Folklore, Gedichtvortrag und unorthodoxe, aber charmante Jazzimprovisation miteinander verschwurbeln, als wäre es das Normalste der Welt. Auf der Höhe der Zeit.
    – Nordische Music (DE)

  7. Skadedyr è l’avvenuta musicale nata per volontà di Heiða Karine Jóhannesdóttir Mobeck (tuba e basso) e Anja Lauvdal (pianoforte) e diventata in pochissimo tempo un’orchestra di una dozzina di elementi (fiati, chitarre, fisarmonica, viola, violini e due batterie). Tutti i musicisti coinvolti nelle registrazioni di Culturen suonano in altri progetti (Jenny Hval, Susanna, Moskus, Snøskred, The Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Skrap, Hullyboo, etc.) portando nel gruppo timbri e sensibilità che colorano il gioioso jazz delle Skadedyr con tinte folk, pop ed elettroniche. Tra i sei brani in scaletta anche l’accompagnamento di un poema di Ivar Aasen, Culturen, da cui l’album prende il nome. Aria de festa.
    – Rockerilla, Roberto Mandolini (IT)

  8. Their music is full of humour and very entertaining. The opening track for example, ‘Datavirus’, composed by member Hans Hulbakmo is a very spirited ‘copy and paste’ composition, citing from many genres. This is also the case for ‘Bie’ another Hulbakmo composition that combines catchy tunes with unexpected turns and passages. Initiators Mobeck and Lauvdal composed the two closing tracks. ‘Trålertrall’ is a schizophrenic piece, switching from acoustic and melodic parts to abstract sound-oriented interludes. Plus ‘Culturen’ an accessible tune that accompanies a poem by Ivar Aasen.
    – Vital Weekly (NL)

  9. En norvégien, le terme skadedyr signifie “insecte”, “nuisible”, voire “vermine”, il suggère une agression souterraine, une destruction, lente, patiente, minutieuse… Mais de quoi ? Sans doute de tout confort ou conformisme, si l’on en juge par les évolutions successives de la musique que propose ces 12 musiciens menés par Heiða Mobeck et Anja Lauvdal, par ailleurs membres de Broen. D’empilements de cuivres, violons, percussions et accordéons en silences, de presque riens organiques en boucans de tous les diables, Culturen déploie une séduction sereine en dehors de tout schéma jazz ou pop, le dépaysement ajoutant encore au charme d’une intransigeance non dénuée d’humour.
    – Les inRocks (FR)