SOT — King Of Saltz

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SOT - King Of Saltz cover
3.99 | 7 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2011

Filed under Jazz Related Rock


1. Schlatan (5:14)
2. Tusjpen (5:53)
3. Bartof (1:38)
4. Follower (6:30)
5. Saltpetersyre (6:01)
6. Den Avsagde (1:52)
7. Støtten (4:22)
8. End Of Saltz (2:44)
9. Oftebrua (3:44)
10. Tzar Saltan (8:21)

Total Time 46:19


- Skjalg Reithaug / guitars
- Anders Hunstad / drums
- Lars Andreas Haug / tuba

About this release

Sotanic Sounds SOTCD501

Thanks to snobb for the addition


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There's such a great sense of fun to SOT's songs here that is both surprising and welcome for me. It seems too much of the jazz history can sometimes be focused on the very serious, so I really enjoyed hearing an album that's fun without being trite in anyway whatsoever.

On each listen I find myself more and more certain that there's a definitely Mr Bungle influence but the quirkiness of the songs goes beyond one reference point.

'King of Saltz' is a fascinating mix of tech metal and jazz and its substitution of tuba for bass is a big draw, it really adds to the lower end. Great stuff - definitely check this out if you're looking for something complex and surprising.
SOT’s “Kind of Saltz” has got to be one of the more creative and technically proficient instrumental rock records to come along in a while. SOT is a relatively new band made up of veteran performers, Skjalg Reithaug on guitar, Anders Hunstad on drums and Lars Andreas Haug on tuba. The tuba may seem like novelty schtick, but it works surprisingly well. The big horn has a strong bass presence and more sustain than a bass guitar giving the band an orchestrated texture. Haug also occasionally adds trombone or trumpet as well. The mixing of electric and acoustic instruments always sounds nice and is especially helpful on music this technical where an all electric sound would make the music too cold. SOT plays a modern style of music where styles and genres fly by as quickly as the musical phrases they present. Some trace this type of ADHD arrangement back to Frank Zappa, but SOT has a more modern edge derived from John Zorn, Mr Bungle, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez as well as countless avant-garde tech-metal bands.

Humor plays a big part in the SOT sound, which is nice considering how technically challenging the music is. Although little on here really sounds like Spike Jones, still sometimes this band invokes the spirit of a metalized version of Spike’s cartoony silliness. Although most of the songs on here feature very intense rapid fire changes of mood, occasionally they change things up and will present short songs that stay in one style. “Bartof” is bizarre country exotica polka with a melody that keeps evolving in a very clever arrangement. “End of Saltz” sounds like a Gil Evans orchestrated psychedelic blues.

If you enjoy this sort of stylistically schizophrenic technical instrumental rock, SOT will not disappoint. They are extremely advanced composers and performers who put a lot of life and humor into an approach to music that can sound cold in the wrong hands.

Members reviews

"Kind of Saltz" is the debut full-length studio album by Norwegian avant garde rock/metal act SOT. The album was released in late 2011 through Sotanic Sounds. SOT consists of three very seasoned musicians in Skjalg Reithaug, Anders Hunstad and Lars Andreas Haug, who during the last 20 years have been involved in a wide plethora of projects ranging from pop music to jazz to progressive rock and avant garde.

...the main instrumentation on the album are guitar, drums and tuba. Besides those three main instruments the music is occasionally coloured by instruments like saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar synth, piano and some no word/lyrics vocals. The latter work more like an instrument than "regular" vocals. While all instruments add to the soundscape, it´s the presence of the tuba that really sets SOT apart from most other acts. I had no idea tuba playing could sound this cool. Most of the time tuba player Lars Andreas Haug lays down some really wicked basslines on the tuba to compensate for the fact that the lineup doesn´t feature a bassist, but he often add other "non bass" type sounds to the music too.

Despite being fairly complex and challenging, the music is actually surprisingly accessible. That´s not exactly something that can be said about most avant garde rock/metal releases. I hear influences from jazz, chamber classical, avant garde rock/metal and more than a nod towards Frank Zappa. Even though the music is mostly instrumental there´s still a great humour/silly element present and a strong sense that these three guys are having great fun.

"Kind of Saltz" features a strong organic sound production, which further enhances the listening experience. That coupled with the outstanding musicianship and the adventurous songwriting make "Kind of Saltz" quite the enjoyable album. It´s the kind of release where I´m kept on my toes all the way through the playing time. New stylistic elements are introduced constantly and you never know where the songs go. While that may sound chaotic, in reality that´s far from the truth. SOT are skilled songwriters who manage to keep the songs together and incorporate hooks and recognisable elements. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
Although all of the musicians in SOT have had quite a bit of experience in the Scandinavian musical landscape, Kind of Saltz is their first recorded effort as a collective unit. And what an impressive debut it is! SOT is a band that's tough to put your finger on, and their arousing blend of jazz, metal, avant-garde, and progressive rock is nothing less than mind-boggling. Very much like some of Frank Zappa's more zany works, the music on Kind of Saltz spans numerous genres through quirky and seemingly disjointed compositions, and yet they somehow sound cohesive and memorable. SOT has delighted listeners with their very unique and interesting debut, and fans of forward-thinking music would be doing themselves a major disservice by not giving it a spin.

On Kind of Saltz, SOT's sound is best described as a meeting point between jazz fusion, avant-garde rock, instrumental metal, and even touches of post rock - while the overall tone of the album is rather dark at times, the frenzied melodies and spastic arrangements often reveal a rather quirky atmosphere. In this regard (as well as a few others), SOT's music sounds like an up-to-date, heavier version of The Mothers of Invention. The music is quite complex at times, deceivingly melodic, and captivating throughout the album's entire duration. Part of the reason why Kind of Saltz is such a successful effort is that, stylistically, I can't think of any other act who does quite what SOT does. Their enticing avant-garde take on jazz fusion and metal has never been previously done in this sort of fashion, and I think this is at least partially do to the rather odd instrumentation by rock music standards. Including Lars Andreas Haug's tuba playing is without doubt a rather odd decision, but I think it works perfectly. This under-appreciated instrument adds a dimension to SOT's music that couldn't have been obtained using a standard 'bass-guitar-drums' format, and this strange (yet highly successful) choice of instrumentation is yet another thing that sets Kind of Saltz apart from anything else out there.

After just one listen to Kind of Saltz, it goes without saying that the other two-thirds of SOT also do their jobs exceptionally well. Skjalg Reithaug's guitar work is the centerpoint for many of the compositions here, and his fluid soloing and rock-solid riff delivery is always interesting and well-executed. Anders Hunstad's drumming often veers on the complex and intricate side, and he always plays these intricacies with complete precision - overall, it's tough to label SOT as anything but an extremely tight, well-rehearsed trio.

The instrumentation isn't limited just to tuba, guitar, and drums either, as I also spotted some keyboards, trumpet, and vocals (delivered in a scat-singing sort of way) before Kind of Saltz was over. Overall, this is a varied and immensely entertaining listen that all fans of experimental progressive rock should check out sooner rather than later. I always have a great time when I give Kind of Saltz a listen, and I have a pretty good feeling most other readers will as well. This is an excellent debut from SOT - I'm definitely curious to hear more!

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  • lunarston
  • Fant0mas
  • Nonconformist_jazz

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