Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fire! - She Sleeps / She Sleeps (Rune Grammofon, 2016)

Fire! is the distinctive trio of Mats Gustafsson on tenor, baritone and bass saxophones, Johan Berthling on bass and and Andreas Werliin on drums. They have released a number of very interesting albums over the past several years including excellent collaborations with Oren Ambarchi and Jim O'Rourke. "She Owned His Voice" opens the album in a very fast and exciting manner, with the trio improvising collectively and keeping the music loose and raw. Gustafsson's use of lower end instruments gives the music weight and heft that serve it well. The musicians cavort joyously, blazing through the music with deft passion. "She Sings, She Sings" takes the music in the opposite direction with raw, bloodied saxophone building caustic tension with sounds of rending and tearing to the pace of a much slower beat. These scary and impressionistic sounds are very effective in building an atmosphere that seems fraught with danger and malice. "She Bid a Meaningless Farewell" develops a heavy rhythm from the bass and drums over which Gustafsson begins to develop a series of low toned saxophone foghorn like bleats giving the music a forlorn air which sounds profoundly sad and lonely. The album is concluded by "She Penetrates the Distant Silence. Slowly." This is the longest track of the album and it has dark bass tones in empty space which are gradually accompanied by haunted inky saxophone tones and ghostly clattered percussion. The burly saxophone slowly gains volume building a heavy ominous atmosphere which is framed by the oppressive sound of bass and drums. Werliin develops heavy beats over which gales of doom laden saxophone are being cast around, and the cursed nature of the music is very alluring. The album is a little short, designed for an LP, but this works in its favor. The music is focused, patient a works through a large dynamic range. The band is very tight and the music is based around their interplay as a unit, not about solo heroics. She Sleeps She Sleeps -

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