Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Fire! Orchestra - Exit!

Sonically Speaking

Sonically stunning! I use the word ‘sonic’ occasionally in reviews to suggest, obviously, sound, but I tend to think of a ‘landscape’ of sound or a tonal aura or something similar – you see, it’s getting linguistically ridiculous already, so ‘sonic’ seems to sum up a reference to sound whilst saying significantly more than just ‘sound’.

This album is more than just sound. So ‘sonic’ is going to get me started on describing it. It is definitely stunning. From the crescendos and explosions of the full orchestra – itself battling with the sonic [there it is again] booms of the saxophones and horns – to the vocal pyrotechnics and sound-poetry, to the actual growls of a solo saxophone, to the pandemonium of the erupting orchestra [I’ve just written this as I nearly ejected out of my chair at about 20 minutes into Part Two of this two-parter when the concluding crescendo of this amazing amalgam of sound (I probably mean ‘sonic’) suddenly detonates] to the almost conventional jazz melody to the everything else that gets thrown into this stunning sonic sink [too much now?], this is an album where if you’d pulled your titanium socks up over your head and welded them to the top of your scalp it will still blow them off in a nanosecond at any one of its many dynamic peaks of sound.

One of these first brilliant peaks is three and a half minutes into Part One where the three-beat bass line has been building and the vocal singing/chanting has been screaming and then the orchestra and brass and guitars and quite a bit in addition goes ballistic with its first glorious fusion of sound.

The Swedish core trio of Mats Gustafsson [saxophone/The Thing], Johan Berthling [bass/Tape] and Andreas Werliin [drums/Wildbirds & Peacedrums] is joined by Sten Sandell piano/electronics, Raymond Strid drums, Mariam Wallentin voice, Sofia Jernberg voice, Fredrik Ljungkvist baritone sax/clarinet, Andreas Söderström guitar, David Stackenäs guitar, Joachim Nordwall electronics, Joe Williamson bass With Emil Svanängen, Niklas Barnö, Magnus Broo, Emil Strandberg, Mats Äleklint, Per Ake Holmlander, Anna Högberg, Elin Larsson, Christer Bothe n, Jonas Kulhammar, Sören Runolf, Tomas Hallonsten, Joel Grip, Dan Berglund, Tomas Mera Gartz, Johan Holmegard, and more [courtesy Amazon product desciption], and I mention these to give a sense of the musical collective as well as a visual representation of the numbers at work here. 

I wrote the above visual representation before I found this image...

This is free jazz and avant garde and rock and sound poetry [written by Arnold de Boer] and one of the most exciting things I’ve heard for a while. Lest you think it is just monumental noise – and it is this – the opening vocal shouts and echoes and whistle noises and found sounds at the beginning of Part Two are beautiful and sonically calming. But then.....

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