Is It Jazz? Records, the scion of Norway’s Dark Essence and Karisma Records, will launch their first release on the 27th May when the self-titled debut album from Jazz Prog Rockers SOFT FFOG hits the streets. But those curious to hear what the label has in store for them need wait no longer, because today “Chun Li”, the opening track from the SOFT FFOG album, has been released as a single, which can be streamed or downloaded from various services at: https://isitjazzrecords.fanlink.to/Soft-Ffog_Chun-Li
Being the first band on the label is, as you can imagine, something the Instrumental Quartet is very much looking forward to, as the band explains:
SOFT FFOG are super stoked to be the first band signed to Is it Jazz? Records and we’re looking forward to rising into the cosmos together! So, about us. Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if JIMI HENDRIX joined DEEP PURPLE and aimed at sounding like GENTLE GIANT – but failing miserably in the attempt because too much jazz had been consumed lately? Probably not, but anyhow, SOFT FFOG´s sound is unique, and draws parallels with the aforementioned acts somewhat in style, compositions and aesthetics, but is more rooted in jazz – with prolonged solos and improvisations.
And of course the time has now come, and we are happy to release the first single from our upcoming album. The song is the opener on the album, and kicks off with a «The Who-esque» intro with a twisted indie rock melody, then progresses into a fuzzed out Gentle Giant-like riff. Guitar solo ahead! And then concludes with a bang!
SOFT FFOG’s genesis in 2016 was somewhat unusual in that it came about as a one-off gig commissioned by the Kongsberg Jazz Festival. Despite the success of this event, the band did not get the momentum it needed to be a proper working entity, and, combined with the busy schedules of the respective musicians, each with their other bands and projects, SOFT FFOG only played gigs every now and then. Playing live, did however, help to define and refine the band’s sound, so much so, infact, that founder Tom Hasslan decided that 2020 was the right time for SOFT FFOG to record their first album.
The band consists of Tom Hasslan (KROKOFANT) who also wrote the album, on guitars, Axel Skalstad (KROKOFANT) on drums, Trond Frønes (RED KITE, GRAND GENERAL) on bass, and Vegard Lien Bjerkan (WIZRD) on keyboards. It’s safe to say that individually the members of SOFT FFOG have probably played with everyone in the Norwegian Jazz scene, and now they have a vehicle that allows them to do their own thing. By combining influences from KING CRIMSON with TERJE RYPDAL, DEEP PURPLE with PAT METHENY, SOFT FFOG have produced an album of blistering guitar solos, gnarly bass, crazy drums and supersonic keyboard playing!
Recorded at Studio Paradiso with Christian Engfelt engineering and producing, and mastered by Herbrand Larsen, and with artwork by Tor Einar Evju and layout by Tom Korsvold, track listing for the album is as follows:
1. Chun Li
“Soft Ffog” will be released in CD and LP formats and is now available to pre-order from: