Threnody is the working free-improv trio of Swedish sax hero Martin Küchen and double bass player Johan Berthling, both also collaborate in Küchen’s Angles groups, and English drummer Steve Noble. The group released its first live album in 2015, «Night in Europe» (NoBusiness, 2015), adopted the name Threnody on the sophomore album «Threnody, at the Gates» (Trost, 2017). The third album, «A Paradigm Of Suspicion», was recorded as the first ones in Sweden, at Studio Rymden in Stockholm in January 2018.
Threnody, as many of Küchen’s projects, addresses today’s most troubling issues, and on this album the surveillance and social supervision. The music corresponds to these frightening policies in the best way possible, suggesting a passionate resistance and a model of strong unit working together. Küchen is a natural leader but no ordinary sax player. His attacks are free-associative and highly imaginative. His reliance on the unique retardophone on the first piece «Who’s After You» charges and colors the music with exotic Middle-Eastern sonorities, later abstracted as expressive, lyrical cries, intensified by Nobles’ polyrhythmic patterns and the tense bowing work of Noble.
The short and playful «Music Is (Pretty Much) Over» cements Threnody seminal, fiery and muscular free jazz aesthetics. The 22-minutes «Where Am I, Where Were You» offers another journey into the unknown, as Threnody perfects its edgy and non-linear dynamics as a powerful three-headed, layered entity that thrives on tension, boundless energy and intensity but aldo on deep introspection and being openly emotional. The last «We Will Have Our Share in a World Divided» is a kind of 21st century free jazz meets free-improv explosive ballad, radiating its touching yet tormented energy but also stressing its profound commitment to make music, and art at all, that moves, matters and makes us feel alive and kicking.
Johan Berthling (b), Martin Küchen (retardophone, sopraninos, as, ts), Steve Noble (dr)