Hess Is More | 80 Years
A unique album from a unique band – HESS IS MORE release their 7th album, the original, danceable, and sophisticated 80 Years .
Format: CD, LP and digital
All music composed by Mikkel Hess
Hess is More is a New York / Danish institution in art house pop music – now releasing its 7th album, the first on UK label Edition Records. With its trademark mix of instrumental improvisation, electronic beats, and haunting melodies all rooted in a jazz aesthetic, Hess Is More sounds like no other band. A collaborative production between Minister of Integration Mikkel Hess and maestros W. Andrew Raposo (Hercules and Love Affair, Jessica 6, and Midnight Magic), Rasmus Bille Bähncke (Blue, Miley Cyrus, Sting, Clay Aiken), Matt Parker (award winning jazz composer and arranger), and electronic-music wizard David Mason (Listening Center), the new album 80 Years is a testament to the band’s warped and sophisticated hook-laden eclectic sound.
CD Track-listing //
1. 80 Years, Part I
2. 80 Years, Part II
3. 80 Years, Part III
5. Recollection of 80 Years
6. It’s Backwards No Matter What I Do, Part I
7. It’s Backwards No Matter What I Do, Part II
8. It’s Backwards No Matter What I Do, Part III
9. It’s Backwards No Matter What I Do, Part IV
10. You May
LP Track-listing //
1. 80 Years
3. Recollection of 80 Years
1. It’s Backwards No Matter What I Do
2. You May
‘80 Years’ //
80 Years is Hess Is More’s seventh LP, give or take—it’s hard to keep track. What’s clear is that it could never be the band’s first, second, or third album, much as The White Album (to cite the starriest example of this exalted subgenre) could never have introduced the Beatles. The record is far too eccentric and confident, reflecting the zigzagging journey the band has embarked upon to arrive at this place.
Let’s recap! Hess Is More first flickered to life more than a dozen years ago in Copenhagen, where drummer and singer Mikkel Hess had recently graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Music. After spending his young life steeped in jazz, Mikkel greeted adulthood by falling under the sway of pop. From its first rumblings, Hess Is More reveled in the simple pleasures of pop music—all juicy dance beats and whistled jingles—while never abandoning the perspective of an art- damaged jazz act. In time, Mikkel relocated to New York.
Hess Is More had long featured the drummer and a revolving cast, yet in the city a dynamic band slowly gelled. It is the type of project impossible to conceive outside the boundaries of New York City, with members hailing from far-flung corners, both geographic and stylistic. Rasmus Bille Bähncke, Hess’s studio lieutenant and fellow Dane, is a pop savant whose production has guided the world’s Mileys and Aikens. Matthew Parker is an American jazzman, his saxophone solos floating through the band’s songs like apparitions. Lifelong New Yorkers Pavel Kogan-Liakhov (guitar) and W. Andrew Raposo (bass) are pedigreed dance/rock musicians, the latter responsible for the tasteful label Concierge Records. Dublin native David Mason, when not playing electric drums with Hess, performs retro-futurist electronic music as Listening Center. Nikolaj Hess (an established jazz pianist and Mikkel’s big brother) and Daniel Nentwig (of Berlin’s the Whitest Boy Alive ) contribute keyboards. In concert, the band encircles Mikkel as he drums and sings. Encountering a frontman drummer in a rock club is an unexpected sight, but this is no shtick: Hess Is More is, in effect, a drummer-led jazz band that happens to play a bastardized form of rock music.
To pick up a Hess Is More record from a few years back was to encounter an avant-garde pop band with its emphasis tilted toward the latter category. Songs were contained—three or four tidy minutes—and very much stamped by the studio. One song became a bona fide hit in Russia after a popular exotic dancer, immune to the lyrics’ ironic tilt, employed it in a web video. 80 Years is a different beast. Songs sprawl out to nine, ten, even twenty minutes. As with the album’s predecessor and companion piece, 2014’s My Head Is a Ballroom , the record is a resounding band effort, with each musician scattering his fingerprints across Hess’s wondrous melodies. “It’s Backwards No Matter What I Do,” which dominates the album’s b-side and runs about as long as a Seinfeld episode, features a veritable album’s worth of solos and moods. Perhaps even more adventurous and unexpected are the album’s short songs: “Recollection of 80 Years,” a surprise trumpet solo by guest star Tom Harrell that would sound at home on a jazz record, and “You May,” the Eno-esque lullaby at the LP’s conclusion.
Throughout, the band sounds like itself and only itself. This music is never weird but always unique. It will move the sedentary to dance and the pitiless to weep. It is music created by men with experienced hands and young souls, rooted in their respective traditions but eager to break any rules that stand before them.
East Coast Inspirational Singers – Vocal
Tom Harrell – Trumpet
Matt Parker – Tenor and Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet Rune Olesen – Percussion
Rasmus Bille Bahncke – SH101
David Mason – Electric Drums, Sequencer and Drum Machine Programming
Andrew Raposo – Bass
Nikolaj Hess – Keyboard
Daniel Nentwig – Keyboard
Mikkel Hess – Vocal, Drums, Keyboard, Bass, Guitar
All music composed by Mikkel Hess.
Produced by Andrew Raposo, David Mason and Mikkel Hess. Co- produced by Matt Parker and Rasmus Bille Bahncke.
Tracks 1,2,3,4 arranged by Andrew Raposo, David Mason, Rasmus Bille Bahncke and Mikkel Hess.
Track 5 arranged by Tom Harrell.
Tracks 6,7,8,9 arranged by Andrew Raposo, David Mason, Nikolaj Hess, Matt Parker, Rasmus Bille Bahncke and Mikkel Hess.
Track 10 arranged by Andrew Raposo and Mikkel Hess.
Recorded by Andrew Raposo at Midnight Sun Studio except Rune Olesen percussion recorded at Studio 4 in Copenhagen and Tom Harrell trumpet recorded by Mikkel Hess at Vallekilde Summer Session.
Mixed by Eric Broucek, mastered by Heba Kadry
Cover photo by Alastair Wiper, shot on set for Henrik Vibskov film “Harmonic Mouth” commissioned by Manhattan Museum of Art and Design. Art Direction by Jacob Wildschiødtz / NR2154