release date: 26.02.2021 via Rune Grammofon
Not the most optimistic title for pressing times, but the music sees Fire! tracking new paths and reaching new levels of excellence, still honoring their 12 year old vow of presenting a fresh approach to improvised music. On their 6th recording as a trio concept, The Fire! burns the scares in your ears and as always makes listening to it an unforgettable experience. On that occasion the groups striking power had been increased by two extra front men, so the Firepower of Mats Gustafsson‘s reeds had been straightened with extra horns with a trumpet, trombone and the sousaphone. Fire! is a the Nordic experimental supergroup formed in 2009 by the core trio of Mats Gustafsson (sax), Johan Berthling (bass guitar) and Andreas Werlin (drums) who joined together to develop a fresh approach to improvised music drawing on influences from free jazz, psychedelic rock, and noise.
Their debut album, You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago
, was released in 2009 to wide international acclaim. “The basic strategy of pairing the expressive energy of free jazz with a sturdy sense of groove has yielded something potent and self-containe
d” (New York Times
). Between this and Defeat
there ́s been five albums, including collaborations with Jim O ́Rourke
2011) and Oren Ambarchi
(In The Mouth A Hand,
No two Fire! records sound the same, but with Defeat
they have taken their biggest leap so far, with Gustafsson giving the flute a prominent place in the sound image, a surprising and most successful move, his both expressive and ornamental approach given ample room to breathe, especially on the two long tracks book-ending the album. In places more subdued than on previous efforts, but with the distinctive bass figures and hypnotic mood fully intact. There are some lively stretches with guests Goran Kajfes
and Mats Aleklint
, bringing to mind their big band offshoot Fire! Orchestra, albeit on a smaller scale.
For over 20 years we have made a habit of releasing music that is beyond easy classification, in later years typified by Hedvig Mollestad
, but cemented by Fire! and their exploratory curiosity and deep love of music in general. We, and many others, have tried to compare the trio to other groups, but listening to Defeat
we realize how futile this is. Given the above there ́s no doubt there are many influences at play, but the resulting brew is in a class by itself.
CD / LP / DL : Rune Grammofon : FIRE! : Defeat
release date: 12th February 2021
formats: CD / LP / DL
cat no: RCD2217 / RLP3217
Mats Gustafsson – Flute, baritone sax, live electronics
Johan Berthling – Electric bass
Andreas Werliin – Drums
Goran Kajfes – Quartertone trumpet
Mats Aleklint – Trombone, sousaphone, horn arrangements
A Random Belt. Rats You Out.
Each Millimeter Of The Toad, Part 1
Each Millimeter Of The Toad, Part 2
Defeat (Only Further Apart)
Alien (To My Feet)
Recorded Oct 2019 and Feb 2020 by Thomas Vang at The Village Recording, Copenhagen mixed by Andreas Werliin at Puttarna mastered by Lupo, Berlin produced by Fire!