Improvised Music Company
The Now & Forever Tour 2008
Sat 22 Nov: Andrews Lane, Dublin
The Now & Forever Tour 2008
Sat 22 Nov: Andrews Lane, Dublin
Available from: City Discs, Road Records, WaV: 1890 200 078; www.whelanslive.com or IMC 01 670 3885
“The Thing´s music is a place where the raw power, filthy sound and fury of punk, garage, rock and noise is expressed through the directness of the spiritual energy, the ecstacy and the emotions one finds in the 60s free jazz. They probably have as much in common with free jazz legends Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman as they have with todays new wave of avant/noise/punk acts such as Wolf Eyes, Boredoms, Lightning Bolt, Black Dice and Animal Collective”.
“The sheer power they generate from wood, metal, breath and muscle is stunning."- BBC Music
Following the release of the limited edition (2000 copies) The Thing box set titled "Now And Forever" and in dripping anticipation of the soon-to-see-the-light new studio album titled Bag It! (recorded by Steve Albini), we ask you to join us for an evening with The Thing, if you think you're hard enough. We promise that an hour or so in the company of these three Scandinavians will permanently rewire your perceptions as to what lies beyond the accepted jazz frontier.
The confrontational, uncompromising trios of saxophonists like Berlin's Peter Brotzmann are the point from which The Thing depart into a sound world entirely their own, and free jazz has seldom sounded as exhilerating and life affirming as within the maelstrom of sonic energy unleashed here.
Barely subdueing the volatile materials are three outstanding European musicians in Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustaffson and Norwegians, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. Such is their ubiquity and obvious rapport, the latter pair have been waggishly dubbed the Sly 'n' Robbie of improvised music. Keen ears will find a plentiful sub strata of rhythmic invention and subtlety lying just beneath the undeniable storm that rages on the surface.
Most saxophonists would wilt in such an environment, but not the sonically muscular and technically daring Gustaffson, who relishes this searing intensity, as collectively they go about their transgressive work on songs from sources as diverse as PJ Harvey (‘To Bring You My Love’) and Don Cherry, The White Stripes (‘Aluminium), Yeah Yeah Yeah’s (‘Art Star’), Lightning Bolt (‘Ride The Sky’) and Ornette Coleman.
Joining them on this dissonant road less travelled is the pioneering turntablist Otomo Yoshihide, a formative figure of Japan's noise music scene, whose music, largely preoccupied by the exploration of feedback and hardly audible sine waves, staunchly inhabits the margins of electronica, rock and free jazz.
"Original Silence include in their lineup Mats Gustafsson, Sonic Youth`s Thurston Moore and Jim O`Rourke, all of whom have played together in loose, extremist coalitions over the years. Despite their moniker, Original Silence can whip up a merry cacophony: "Argument Left Hanging - Rubber Cement" grinds remorselessly, throwing up Beefheart style shapes. A joyful, if derivative noise" (4/5, David Stubbs, Uncut)
“It starts with sticks, and then into a big fat meaty sax riff before the cacophony truly begins. A bellowing, honking, spittling, spurting, throat-ripping calamitous lump of sound from Mats Gustafsson`s abused saxophone. The rhythm section isn`t content to play keep-up. Ingebright Haker Flaten`s double bass sprays volleys of notes, weaving, a palpitating pulse through vibration. Paal Nilssen-Love kicks his drums down the stairs of a high-rise building in the most precise manner possible. This is The Thing`s fourth album in their ongoing voyage to marry the aesthetics of garage-rock n`roll together with the sheer pure ecstasy of free-jazz. It’s a place where Lightning Bolt rightfully sit next to Ornette Coleman, where past conceptions of jazz are bent out of shape with a trio so raw you can smell them. It`s what jazz should be today, just the way I like it” (Plan B Magazine, UK)
"More punk jazz mayhem. From Scandinavia. Recent collaborators of Thurston Moore, this Norwegian based drums/bass/sax trio have earned infamy for their ear shredding free-jazz versions of White Stripes and PJ Harvey (they turn their hand to Ride The Sky by Lightning Bolt here). Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson can do delicate and ruminative (check his intro to Ornette Coleman`s Broken Shadows) but his default setting is a raspy, overblown screech that pitches up somewhere between Albert Ayler, Jimi Hendrix, a whinnying horse and the Benny Hill Show theme music, and is as thrilling as it is amusing and frightening" (4/5, UNCUT MAGAZINE)
"This wryly titled offering from Thurston Moore, Jim O`Rourke and two members of Nordic free-jazzers The Thing, among others, is a 60-minute(two-track) slab of awesomely intense, wholly improvised avant noise. It represents the appeal of extreme improv from Boredoms to SunnO))) - thus at what at first might appear as an impenetrable wall slowly opens up to reveal perversely beautiful wormholes of melody, rythm and texture. Not for the faint-hearted or the fragile-eared - or those in shared housing, perhaps - but still hugely thrilling" (4/6 Time Out London)
The Thing pretty much tore my living room to shreds on the release of their last album 'Garage' with its rock 'n roll take on free jazz. Their rendition of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's 'Art Star' especially defined their sound perfectly with a distinctly punk rock ethic applied to what to most sounds like truly out-there jazz. It's hardly surprising that the band is made up of Norwegians then, the country that has birthed some of the most continuously exciting free jazz to date and continues to with labels such as Rune Grammofon and Smalltown Supersound at the fore. 'Action Sound' takes The Thing's skronky jazz rawk and takes it a step further, as can be heard on their stunning cover of Lightning Bolt's 'Ride the Sky'. yeah there's a jazz band covering Lightning Bolt, but more amazing than that is that they pull it off, double-time drumming and squeaking saxophone leading the way into a noise-drenched tempest of wild abandonment. This sentiment carries throughout the album, through the band's own compositions 'Better Living.' and '.Through BBQ', covers of Cato Salsa Experience and Lars Gullin (the shockingly good 'Danny's Dream' and even into their cover of Ornette Coleman's 'Broken Shadows' which while much slower and quieter than the rest of the album is just as vibrant and just as important. Free jazz isn't for everyone, but with The Thing's sense of joy and pure abandonment of all things 'establishment', I hope this record gets them further than the constraints of the genre might usually allow. Huge recommendation. (Boomkat)
See Pitchfork’s ‘Original Silence’ review
Please visit http://www.improvisedmusic.ie/events.php?date=2008-11-30 for details of Belfast, Cork and Galway shows.