Bassist-composer Eivind Opsvik, born and raised in Norway, but resident in New York City for some two decades, has developed an utterly individual musical soundprint, one that blends the song-minded composition and creative studio craft of art rock with the virtuosic edge and spontaneity of progressive jazz. Opsvik’s sequentially numbered series of instrumental albums dubbed Overseas, begun in 2003, and continues here with Overseas V. Time Out New York called Overseas IV one of the “freshest” albums of 2012, extolling its “depth.” The hooks-galore writing, artful production and sublime playing remain constant in Opsvik’s work, but in the place of the Baroque atmospherics of Overseas IV are post-punk influences, from the melodic bass lines of Joy Division/New Order to the funky stutter of Talking Heads. Then there is the inspiration of Brian Eno’s early avant-rock LPs – catchy, off-kilter songs played by great musicians – and the lessons young Opsvik learned from experiencing guitarist Terje Rypdal and other of ECM’s Scandinavian jazzers live, not just on record. The latest, road-honed version of Opsvik’s Overseas band features close longtime friends, who happen to be some of the most compelling improvisers on New York’s creative music scene: saxophonist Tony Malaby, guitarist Brandon Seabrook, keyboardist Jacob Sacks and drummer Kenny Wollesen, all for whom quality of sound matters more than quantity of notes.
The nine tracks of the LP-length Overseas V are also concise and immediate, with no songs hitting six minutes and only three over five. Rhythm more than melody and atmosphere are the basis of these pieces, with a lot of the drum grooves written out. The band is elastic with time and pitch, and the improvisations are very concise.
01. I’m Up This Step
02. Hold Everything
03. Extraterrestrial Tantrum
05. Cozy Little Nightmare
06. First Challenge On The Road
07. Shoppers And Pickpockets
09. Katmania Duskmann
All music written and produced by Eivind Opsvik
Brandon Seabrook - electric guitar
Tony Malaby - tenor saxophone
Kenny Wollesen – drums and percussion, rhythm ace drum machine, hand claps
Jacob Sacks – piano, rmi rock-si-chord organ
Eivind Opsvik – double bass, analog bass synthesizer, oberheim drum machine, hand claps
Recorded by Tom Schick at Sear Sound, Studio A, in New York City on
June 20th 2016
Assistant engineers: Owen Mulholland and Grant Valentine
Additional recording by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground
Mixed by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground in Brooklyn, NY
Mastered by Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters in Memphis, TN
Cover photography by Michelle Arcila
Cover design by Espen Friberg
Wall Street Journal:
"There is a vibrant, intense rhythmic edge to this music that gives it urgency. It doesn’t draw you to it; instead, it rushes out of the speakers."
BBC Music Magazine:
"..an engrossing and sometimes disconcerting programme"
Bandcamp - Album of the Day
"Eivind Opsvik’s jazz combo Overseas is as lean and mean as the wiriest post-punk."
Bandcamp Daily - Best New Jazz
"Overseas V possesses the hypnotic motion, curious warmth and frenetic activity of a tesla coil, and the imagery generated by the music creates the crackling strands of electricity."
"No one could call this music backward looking. ...shows the improvisational freedom, harmonic sophistication and tonal subtlety of jazz"
The New York Times
"It includes some of Mr.Opsvik's funkiest and most physically assertive music yet"
Electronic Sound (UK)
"A very welcome, fresh New York classic if you ask me."
"An engaging, playful listen throughout, Opsvik’s Overseas group pulses with charm and vitality"
"a deeply satisfying experience"
London Jazz News
"It has resulted in the most amusing, light-hearted album that crossed my ears so far this year. It’s all great pleasure with a lot of smiles."
Free Jazz Collective
"'Brapps!' - it gets my track of the year vote!."
All About Jazz #1
"Singularly unique, Overseas V is another forward-thinking installment in an oeuvre that transcends the limitations of genre.."
All About Jazz #2
"The collection has an odd way of feeling like a lucid program even as it morphs through seemingly un-diagrammed changes."
"The album doesn’t simply throw saxophones on top of 1980s grooves"
Heavy Blog is Heavy
"some of the most beguiling, yet heart-pounding music I’ve heard in a while"
"Overseas V is part of the wild, woolly world of Eivind Opsvik that fans of the unconventional will want to partake.."
All About Jazz Italia
"confirming Opsvik as one of the most interesting voices of contemporary jazz.."
"Opsvik’s outfit sounds like it’s set its teeth into fresh meat and ain’t letting go."
"a master of creating “feels” and journeys that would have been unrecognizable in the jazz culture of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. His music feels very much up-to-the-minute. "
New York City Jazz Record
"Eivind Opsvik has developed about the strongest band identity for which an artist can hope"
Derek's Music Blog
"Overseas V is an album of ambitious, inventive, innovative and genre-melting music"
"Inspired to dig back in time and learn more about previous Overseas Incarnations"
Jazz Right Now
"An incredibly unique and eclectic collection of work from a gifted composer and performer. There is nothing else out there quite like this."
Music and More
"The music twists and turns through ever-shifting textures, creating a very exciting and compelling performance"
"In short, Opsvik once again remains true to his muse by creating and crafting music very much his and his alone."
"The most eloquent and also hypnotic delivery of Overseas"
"interestingly episodic and creatively subversive"
Mr. Stu's Record Room
"Overseas V manages to pack a lot of excitement into the 39 minutes of this disc. Definitely recommended.
Das Kliencium (DE)
"So open, so understandable, so serious and brave!"
"With this release, Eivind Opsvik convinces again"