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På skive


«Today is better than tomorrow»

The Greek, Athens-based record shop and art galley Underflow began to operate last year also as a new, international label, with two new projects of Mats Gustafsson – a solo album and The Undeflow trio with guitarist David Grubbs and trumpeter Rob Mazurek, and a live recording of another Swedish master, sax player Martin Küchen’s Angles nonet-tenet. The Underflow label explains that it seeks to be «a place where music is still relevant and important!» The Angles band proves that music can also have much-needed healing qualities.

The limited-edition vinyl «Today is better than tomorrow» (plus download option at the bandcamp page of Underflow) collects two live sessions of the Angles band. Side A was recorded live at the Jazz Festival Saalfelden, Austria, in August 2013, a few months before the Angles 9 recorded its second album, «Injuries» (Clean Feed, 2014). The Angles 9 is augmented by Swedish, California-based drummer Kjell Nordeson (who played in an early version of the Angles sextet, «Epileptical West», Clean Feed, 2010, and later in Angles 3, «Parede», Clean Feed, 2018), but the personnel remains the same: the front line of Küchen on alto sax, trumpeter Magnus Broo and cornetist Goran Kajfeš, trombonist Mats Äleklint, reeds player Eirik Hegdal (the only Norwegian in this band), pianist Alexander Zethson and the rhythm section of vibes player Mattias Ståhl, double bass player Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werliin.

Küchen’s 24-minutes of «Today Is Better Than Tomorrow/In Our Midst» (the second part is the title-piece of Angles 9 debut album, Clean Feed, 2013), is a spiritual-bluesy piece, developed slowly as an exciting, marching composition, intensified by the hypnotic pulse, the massive wall of sounds by the reeds and winds musicians, together with emotional solos of all musicians. This moving piece blends beautifully seminal influences from the American spiritual-political, free jazz of the late sixties such as Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra and the South-African free jazz of Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath but already delivers its strong, independent voice of the Angles band.

Side B was recorded at Schuur Hans, Feerwerd, Netherlands, in August 2018 with the same line-up and features two more compositions of Küchen. The first, «Ubabba» (from «Injuries») deepens the South-African vein with its uplifting, cyclical call-and-answer play of the reeds and wind section vs. the irresistible rhythm section. The second piece, «Love, Flee Thy House (In Breslau)» (from Angels 9 third album, «Disappeared Behind The Sun», Clean Feed, 2017), begins as a lyrical, openly emotional ballad but soon transforms into a fiery blowout. This piece highlights, again, how fantastic are all the musicians of the Angles band and their collective wisdom in creating such invigorating, beautiful music.

The cover is taken from the exhibition «The Magic of the Mask» and adds to the magical quality of this recording.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Johan Berthling (b), Magnus Broo (tp), Eirik Hegdal (bs), Goran Kajfeš (cor), Martin Küchen (as, ts), Kjell Nordeson (dr), Mattias Ståhl (vib), Andreas Werliin (dr), Alexander Zethson (p), Mats Äleklint (tb)

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