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MATS GUSTAFSSON & JOACHIM NORDWALL

THEIR POWER REACHED ACROSS SPACE AND TIME-TO DEFY THEM WAS DEATH-OR WORSE»
THRILL JOCKEY, THRILL-577, 2023)

Mats Gustafsson and Joachim Nordwall are long-time comrades who have collaborated many times before, as a duo, in the first incarnations of Gustafsson’s Fire! Orchestra, or when Nordwall produced and released Gustafsson’s projects in his label iDEAL Recordings (check the trio Nash Kontrol, with Dror Feiler and Lasse Marhaug, Your Left Hand Just Exploded, 2005). Nordwall is known for the experimental underground band The Skull Defekts. But the Covid-19 pandemic forced these good friends experienced and highly resourceful artists to push their boundaries even more. THEIR POWER REACHED ACROSS SPACE AND TIME-TO DEFY THEM WAS DEATH-OR WORSE was recorded remotely in 2021 when Gustafsson, from his home in Nickelsdorf, Austria, and Nordwall in the Brännö island, exchanged files back and forth, and «suddenly we had an album», as Gustafsson said in a recent interview.

But Gustafsson and Nordwall not only pushed their work methods. They wanted to push their sonic experiences and create a unique one, where acoustics and analog synths meet in dark and deep tones territories. «It is like something is coming, a black star on the horizon. Our respective different backgrounds come together in the most natural way here and create some kind of organic sci-fi feel to it», Gustafsson and Nordwall stated.

The atmosphere is indeed introspective and reserved, focused on the patient, sustained breaths and blows on flutes and saxes, that gets wilder only on the last piece «HER EYES…WERE LIKE COLD FIRES (slut)». and distant, hypnotic pulses or dissonant bursts of noise and clattering percussion, executed with remarkable precision. The eight pieces suggest an enigmatic tension and highlight the profound affinity of Gustafsson and Nordwall, as well as the humble, deep listening essence of this album. The English titles of the pieces (all in capital letters) correspond in a poetic manner with the working process of Gustafsson and Nordwall and are all taken from American writer Cordwainer Smith’s sci-fi novel Space Lords (1965), while the Swedish titles (all in small letters) were written by Swedish poet and cartoonist Gunnar Lundkvist – as Klas Katt – and provoke new thoughts that spark further thought and conversation. The album is dedicated to Cordwainer Smith and Klas Katt.

Unique music. Unheard vibes. Perfect for special venues and good PAs, exactly as Gustafsson and  Nordwall describe it.

Eyal Hareuveni

Mats Gustafsson (fl, alto flutophone, slide s, bass-s, bs), Joachim Nordwall (analog synth, analog and digital effects, tapes)

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