Jon Andreas Hatun is one of those half-artist/half-musicians that you never quite know how seriously to take
Jon Andreas Hatun, a Norwegian musician who performs under the monicker Jono El Grande, sometimes leading “The Luxury Band” in Dada-inspired performance art pieces, is one of those half-artist/half-musicians that you never quite know how seriously to take. He attended art school in Bergen, and has taught himself composition -- perhaps as a result, his songs are an enthusiastic but ragged jumble of 20th century classical music tropes, pop melodies, simple percussion, and even scraps of opera. The experience of listening to Neo Dada, his second CD for Rune Grammofon, is thus rather disorienting. But you have to give El Grande the benefit of intent, and there are certainly elements of arresting, at times compelling, musical theatre across the album. “Ballet Morbido in a Dozen Tiny Movements”, a standout, is like a leftfield classical version of Kaada’s Spaghetti Western sensibility. “Three Variations on a Mainstream Neurosis”, somewhat closer to rock with its heavy bassoon or saxophones, reinterprets the classic 1-4-1-5-4-1 progression through a cacophony of bird-like wind instruments, rising to a frantic, atonal climax. Cycling quickly through klezmer, jazz, and prog-rock, Jono El Grande presents an intriguing if a little ADD interpretation of experimental music.