"At this juncture The Thing and its members need little by way of introduction. Individually their output plots a course through much of the territories mapped by contemporary improvised music, shines a light on its more outré reaches, and stretches the wallets of even the most committed listener. Moreover, seeing any of their names affiliated with a project has become a seal of quality, much as the FMP logo did a generation prior."
"If you count The Thing’s collaborations with Joe McPhee, James Blood Ulmer, Ken Vandermark, Neneh Cherry, Barry Guy, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O’Rourke, Thurston Moore and DKV Trio too, Again is their 20th album (including the compilation Now and Forever and the split album The Music of Norman Howard with School Days, another Gustafsson project). Literally speaking, The Thing have done it again. After 17 years in the same line-up (Mats Gustafsson on saxes, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on acoustic and electric bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums) you might think that the band’s music has become predictable, that their mélange of free jazz, blues, rock and noise is actually a cul-de-sac because the musical options are exhausted. However, it isn’t. Though Again is the well-proved mixture of cover versions and original compositions, this time the focus is rather on jazz. The only cover, Decision in Paradise, is an old, rather conventional Frank Lowe piece. The Thing turn the tempo down considerably and a trumpet provided by Joe McPhee, the guest star on this track, transforms the falling lines of the original’s opening passage into painfully bruised sounds before Gustafsson strips the delicate melody to the bone (doing this, it reminds me of Gershwin’s “Summertime“). Bass, trumpet and saxophone dance around each other in slow motion and only after four minutes Nilssen-Love enters the game in order to give the piece more drive and tension. It’s the band’s typical way to take possession of a composition which is not their own. - Martin Schray (Free Jazz Blog) Full review here: www.freejazzblog.org/2018/06/the-thing-again-trost-records-2018.html "
Live at Blå
""There are all the violent shrieks and wails one expects from Gustafsson, the polyrhythmic, Paul Lovens-ian drumming of Paal Nilssen-Love and Flaten's updated Mingus style. But there also are enough quiet, almost introspective moments that highlight each musician's technical facility and make the louder portions even more forceful." -Andrey Henkin, All About Jazz"