LP

Again

The Thing

2018

"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 "

Awosting Falls

Starlite Motel

2016

"It’s not the first time we find Scandinavian and American musicians playing together – some of the bands founded by Ken Vandermark have this characteristic –, but Starlite Motel comes with a different focus than the ones trying to reconnect the techniques and aesthetics of improvisation developed in Europe with its jazz roots in the United States. In “Awosting Falls”, non-idiomatic and idiomatic improv meets with… psychedelic rock. Those procedures and styles are very well known by the mastermind of this new enterprise: Gard Nilssen, the Norwegian drummer of the rock-oriented, electric bands Puma and Bushman’s Revenge, but also of hardcore post- free jazz groups like Acoustic Unity and Cortex. His Nordic companions are also familiar with it, namely saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts, who brought jazz to noise domains with partners like Lasse Marhaug and Maja Ratkje, and bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten (now living in Texas, by the way), a member of the free jazz / free rock band The Thing and leader of the metal / hip-hop / jazz combo The Young Mothers. The American in the quartet is Jamie Saft, one of the most permanent of John Zorn’s collaborators, part of Electric Masada and also the author of “Trouble: The Jamie Saft Trio Plays Bob Dylan” and leader of a band including the jazz mainstream bassist Steve Swallow, The New Standard. The music is puzzling and sensuous, cosmic and groovy at the same time. Now you can dream with a beat."