Monday, July 20, 2009

Fresh Scandinavian Skronk (with brisket)

At Mapsadaisical, a great review of the new album from my favorite Scandinavian punk jazz trio, The Thing. Naturally, these psycho-vikings live off the organic barbeque from Austin's Ruby's, which doubles as the official luncheon spot of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop. The new album even has an extra track, "Beef Brisket," dedicated to Ruby's.


The Thing, Bag It (Smalltown Superjazzz)


And so begins another album by Norway’s finest, The Thing. This time round the trio of Mats Gustafsson, Paal Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten have followed their punk leanings to their most logical conclusion by enlisting the recording services of none other than Steve Albini to capture their live dynamism. And what a great job he does: even just getting saxophonist Mats Gustafsson’s desperate gasps for breath, the ones which punctuate the intro to their cover of The Ex’s “Hidegen Fujnak A Szelek“, builds an incredible tension. That tension builds through the following “Drop The Gun”, finally exploding with blinding white electronics from Gustafsson and Haker-Flaten. Electronics also feature in the group’s composition “Hot Doug”, meshing with the bass to form a deep, rumbling undercurrent for Nilssen-Love to thrash against. Gustafsson is on fiery, imperious form throughout, with the confidence to take on Albert Ayler’s “Angels”: he resists the urge to tear it into tiny pieces, douse it in petrol, set it ablaze, and pound the embers into the earth, keeping the matches in the box with a remarkably restrained performance.

For those hungry for more, the CD comes with a bonus thirty minute slab of prime Thing, also recorded by Albini, entitled “Beef Brisket” (first four minutes: umm dumm shuffle clang rrrrrrrrrrrr ummm dummm dagadagadagadagaDAGADAGADAGA YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAA). Here, Gustafsson channels Ayler, Trane, Pharoah, and Brotzmann, spitting molten concrete all over the stage. Do what they tell you: bag it. Available now from Smalltown Superjazzz.

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