Shiggajon is a Danish collective based around musicians Mikkel Reher-Lanberg and Nikolai Brix Vartenberg. Much like the music itself the collective is in constant flux, sometimes performing in the form of a small ensemble, other times appearing on stage with as many as 15 persons, depending on the situation.
It's tempting to categorize Shiggajon as a spiritual jazz ensemble, since their music is able to induce a heightened, spiritual euphoria much similar to that of Pharoah Sanders, Don Cherry or Alice Coltrane. But any narrow definition of their sound would be misleading. While there's an element of ritualism present, there's also a post-modern tendency to absorb everything from sufi music to krautrock and contemporary electronic drone. Heavily modulated guitar pedals and processed vocals accompany layers of flutes, strings, bells and percussion as the most natural thing in the world.
It's the kind of music that demands openness and surrender. Every time the ensemble performs improvisation is fundamental - it’s a journey into the unknown. As in John Coltrane's later works, Shiggajon establishes a unity between spirituality and improvisation - they embrace the paradox of seeking elevation and existential affirmation through sounds that occasionally verges on chaos and dread. These two long, multi-layered, cacophonous pieces occasionally come off as slightly abrasive and dissonant, but ultimately the music is a process resulting in joyful catharsis and healing.
Emil Rothenborg, violin and double bass.
Martin Aagaard Jensen, drum-kit.
Mikkel Elzer, drums, percussion, and electric guitar.
Mikkel Reher-Langberg, drums, percussion, and clarinet.
Nikolai Brix Vartenberg, saxophone.
Sarah Lorraine Hepburn, vocals, silver flute, electronics and tingshaws