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På skive


«Dark Lights»
IMOGENA, IGCD251, 2021)

Thymeshift is the Swedish, Gothenburg-based fusion-improv-electronic trio of drummer Johan Björklund, guitarist Thomas Gunillasson and reeds player Thomas Backman, founded in 2010. This collaborative trio released its debut album, «Beyond Horizons» (BoogiePost) in 2015 with Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson and busy now working as an extended unit, a mini big band titled Thymeshift United, with guitarist Samuel Hällkvist, sax players Lisen Rylander Löve and Malin Wättring and Danish keyboards player-sound artist-instrument innovator Katrine Amsler.

«Dark Lights» documents the previous collaborative work of Thymeshift with Amsler, of the Shitney trio fame and the leader of Television Pickup, which began in 2017, and recorded at Studio Zen in Gothenburg in 2018, and later edited by Björklund who added additional recordings. Amsler injects strong and often enigmatic cinematic veins to the muscular interplay of Thymeshift, and triggers more inventive sounds and moods from Björklund and Gunillasson. The 12 eclectic pieces of «Dark Lights» were written by all four musicians, but each one offers distinct ideas.

Amsler’s opening «Break the Silence»’ is a suggestive, mysterious soundscape that sends Thymeshift into sparse, atmospheric territories, and the following, title-piece intensifies this cinematic course but matches it with a subtle pulse. Gunillasson’s «Youth Country» survived from Thymeshift’s 2015 session and returns to the acrobatic, fusion interplay of Thymeshift, and Amsler’s colors this kind of dramatic interplay with subversive shades on «Quiet Music for Large Ensemble 4», with samples of human voices.

Thymeshifts surprises with Gunillasson’s touching and soulful arrangement of the traditional «Östbjörka Dub» (performed before by another band of Gunillasson, Les Pickadoles). Amsler’s «Average Speed» continues this delicate, lyrical course and sketches a fragile yet dramatic and mysterious story. Björklund’s «Minst» deepens the fragile, enigmatic atmosphere with its nuanced static noises. Björklund and Gunillasson’s «Khroma» sends Thymeshift to exotic territories, and these new territories are further explored in the minimalist and suggestive «Displacements», penned by the four musicians.

Amsler’s «Quiet Music for Large Ensemble 3» brings back Thymeshift to its powerful, dramatic mode, but, again, spices it with subversive, ironic noises, but Gunillasson’s «Moonday» returns to the lyrical, soulful atmosphere of «Dark Lights».  This adventure ends with the brief, atmospheric «Soft Transition into Dark Lights», written by Amsler, Björklund and Gunillasson, a fitting conclusion to this rollercoaster ride through dark and light.

Eyal Hareuveni

Katrine Amsler (keys, elec, laptop, v), Johan Björklund (dr, keys, perc, b, treatments, v), Thomas Gunillasson (g, laptop, treatments, v), Thomas Backman (s, cl, v)

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