Fire! – Defeat (Rune Grammofon, 2021)


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Whether performing as a storming large ensemble or a smaller, more mobile and nimble unit, Fire! is always a fascinating and rewarding group to follow. Multi saxophonist Mats Gustafson is the erstwhile leader adding quite a bit of flute on this this album as well, along with Johan Berthling on bass guitar and Andreas Werlin drums. Joining them on this album are Goran Kajfes on quartertone trumpet, Mats Aleklint on trombone, sousaphone and horn arrangements. The trio plus brass gets a very interesting sound throughout the album, as the sousaphone and trombone add just the right amount of texture to allow the trio to improvise widely. The opening track, “The Random Belt. Rats You Out” uses Gustafson’s flute widely, developing a strong and fluid sound as the bass and drums build in. With the trombone entering, he moves to saxophone, playing in a raw and guttural manner, adding long peals of sound as the group riffs grandly behind him. “Each Millimeter of the Toad, Part 2” develops an excellent bass and percussion groove right off the bat, with subterranean saxophone and horns bubbling up, getting exciting as the saxophonist opens up with blasts of raw sounds against the ominous backdrop, molding this into a scouring solo funneled by punchy brass and elastic bass and drums. A lengthy section of excellent percussion opens “Defeat (Only Further Apart)” paving the way for the remainder of the instruments to fill in, thick bass and drums supporting a wall of brass and saxophone, bubbling and simmering through to the conclusion. This is an very good album that stretches definition, bringing together aspects of jazz, post-rock, experimental music and more into a demonstration of energetic freedom. Defeat – amazon.com

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