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MATS-MORGAN (BAND)

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Sweden


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Mats-Morgan (Band) biography
MORGAN Ågren was born in 1967 and has been a drummer since age four. Born in Umeå, Sweden, MORGAN was spotted as an outstanding young talent performing publicly from the age of seven. He eventually joined forces with MATS Öberg in 1981, when MATS was 10 and MORGAN 14. Their band HOT RATS was formed some after. ZAPPSTEETOOT, an 8-piece band was formed in 1984 playing until the late eighties, becoming internationally known for performing ZAPPA's music.

MATS and MORGAN were invited by FRANK ZAPPA to make a guest appearance at FRANK ZAPPA's 1988 Stockholm performance. ZAPPA then invited them to the USA to partake in several projects, including the 1994 Grammy Award winning CD "Zappa's Universe" with STEVE VAI, as well as a sold out performance of ZAPPA's classical program at New York's Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series.

While recording together as MATS-MORGAN for over a decade, they have continued to do their own music separately and/or together as guests of other artists, as the discography below indicates. MORGAN also has shared the drummer's seat with TERRY BOZZIO on DWEEZIL ZAPPA's album "Shampoohorn". In 1996 MORGAN toured throughout Europe and in 1997 as member of GLEN HUGHES's band. 1996 saw the formation of MORGAN Ågren's own record label Ultimate Audio Entertainment, dedicated to the release of "new" music.

In May 1997 MORGAN was the featured artist in a unique project by the Swedish Film Institute, making his debut in the movie theatres and at several international film festivals. Described as a sound experience, the 4 minute 35mm short-film "Lullaby for lost souls" showcased MORGAN in "a free-form Stereo Dolby drum explosion".

In 2000 MATS Öberg performed with the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, playing FRANK ZAPPA's "200 Motels Suite". In 2003 he played FRANK ZAPPA compositions with DENNY WALLEY's ZAPPA CORNER BAND and with ED PALERMO's BIG BAND at The Umeå Internationella Kammarmusik Festival.

While some of the ZAPPA influence remains in the modern MATS-MORGAN BAND, they have long since found their own voices in avant rock and jazz. In the mid 90's, MATS-MORGAN began releasing CDs on MORGAN's UAE label, and eventually forming a stable house band which has been amazing audiences in Europe and the USA since 2001. The band consists of MATS and Robert Elovsson - keyboards, Jimmy Ågren - guitar, Tommy Thordsson - bass and MORGAN - drums. All musicians have superb playing abilities, and so the quintet plays...
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MATS-MORGAN (BAND) discography


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MATS-MORGAN (BAND) top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.45 | 9 ratings
Trends and Other Diseases
1996
3.80 | 5 ratings
The Music or the Money
1997
3.92 | 4 ratings
Radio Da da
1998
3.98 | 8 ratings
Thanks For Flying With Us
2005
3.10 | 10 ratings
Schack Tati
2014

MATS-MORGAN (BAND) Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
Live
2001
3.76 | 6 ratings
On Air with Guests
2002

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MATS-MORGAN (BAND) Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
The Teenage Tapes
1998
3.09 | 5 ratings
Heat Beats Live / Tourbook 1991-2007
2008

MATS-MORGAN (BAND) Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MATS-MORGAN (BAND) Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Heat Beats Live / Tourbook 1991-2007 by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2008
3.09 | 5 ratings

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Heat Beats Live / Tourbook 1991-2007
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by justaguy

2 stars Hearing and seeing these guys playing leaves an impression, that they were actually born on stage: one behind the keyboards and another behind his drum kit. Saying that, it makes quite clear who is supposed to listen to their music. Why, those who were born on the other side of the stage of course, in the audience! It's a difficult kind of music to dig? but very rewarding.

This Swedish band makes a very intelligent, playful and bright fusion music. It's a sort of musical Pointillism, when the melody is not exposed wide open, but hided behind a lot of small points: drum strokes, bass punctures, electric sounds, etc. To make a reference point: it reminds sometimes of Weather Report, Return To Forever and Frank Zappa. All this with an unheard of drumming by Morgan Ågren as a total experience: artistic and prolific, intelligent and skilful. The keyboards playing by Mats Öberg reminds Joe Zawinul at his best. Amazing fact is that this guy is blind.

I have found these statements about the group on the web: "They played unbelievable, just unbelievable."- Frank Zappa. "Remarkable technical expertise and playing skills"- Bill Bruford. I completely agree with this. I would just like to add, that it is not only the technique, that enchants me, but also the composing, playing chemistry, energy, the total experience of something beautiful happening on stage, something I became a part of, even hearing this in my room. They don't need to give space to each other and to improvise on turns. Their melody lines and improvisations are like different colours, sometimes paralleling and sometimes overlapping each other, never disturbing, but supporting each other, and all together creating a beautiful musical painting. Reading their biography learns, that they indeed started to play music at a very young age. Morgan Ågren, for example, has been a drummer since age of four. Mats Öberg joined him in 1981, when Morgan was 14 and Mats was 10. Three years later, in 1984 they formed Zappesteetoot, a Zappa tribute band. They actually played with maestro himself, for the first time during Zappa's tour in Sweden in 1988. Later, they came to US to play with Zappas's Universe in 1991 and his Orchestra of Our Time in 1993. Read a story about one of these events by Morgan on their web site, it is quite funny. Both of them appear also on Steve Vai's live album, playing the Grammy winning song "Sofa". Over the years, they played in different bands and sets, but they always played together as well, touring a lot as Mats/Morgan band and issuing a cd once in a while.

This issue contains a live CD, compiled from songs played during different concerts, all in the period 2005-2007, and a DVD, containing quite a number of performances by Morgan Ågren, over the period of 16 years. Interesting stuff, and even more interesting for the young drummers, who will learn a lot from this DVD I guess. Check his home-made drums for example, or some amazing performances and solo's.

Recommended for RIO, fusion, jazz and avant-garde connoisseurs.

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 On Air with Guests by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Live, 2002
3.76 | 6 ratings

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On Air with Guests
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Unlike their previous live album which was recorded in a club this one was recorded live in a controlled enviroment with various guests helping out on several tracks. Eight of the eighteen tracks are around a minute or considerably less. I must admit that while this album is so impressive mainly because of the talents of Mats and Morgan on keys and drums respectively, it just doesn't come off nearly as well as the live album released the year before. Just my opinion of course, but there's so much wankery here that it reminds me of Steve Vai's 'The Elusive Sight And Sound" compilation where we witness an amazing guitarist but we don't get much in the way of great tunes.This is a shred-fest of a different kind that is mind boggling but tough for me to sit down and actually enjoy.Technical is the word. I'll just focus on the longer tracks.

"En Schizofrens Dagbok" is all about precision. Not what you'd call melodic but... a fuller sound arrives after 1 1/2 minutes and this sounds better. An impressive display to say the least. "Hollmervalsen" has some insane drum and keyboard work. Although it turns cold and technical to the point of being annoying to these ears. "Chicken" is kind of funky with Jonas Knutsson on sax. Keys lead before 3 minutes then drums before 4 1/2 minutes before the sax is back outfront after 6 minutes. Excellent tune.

"Sol Niger Within" is a top three with guitarist Fredrik Thordendal adding some heavy leads. By the way this is surprisingly heavy music. Very much Metal. It's great ! "Advokaten" features Simon Steensland with his theremin. Not a bad song. "Min Hast" is another top three. It reminds me of WIGWAM early on but much more intense. "Etage A-41" is flat out insane ! "She's Louder Than Me, But I've Got The Microphone" guests the Jimmy Agren Band and I really like the guitar and bass here. Good track. "Ta Ned Trasan" is mostly keys and drum led.

Some mind blowing instrumental work to be heard on this album but like I said earlier i'll take the live album from the year before which is just as impressive instrumentally with more of an emphasis on their songs. 3 stars but worth 4 or 5 stars for the talent alone. Just sayin'.

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 Live by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Live, 2001
4.00 | 7 ratings

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Live
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mats (keyboards) and Morgan (drums) have been playing together before they were even in highschool. At first they were a Zappa cover band but have since started playing their own compositions which are all-instrumental.These two guys steal the show on this live album recorded at a club in Stockholm, Sweden in June of 1999. From Bruford to Zappa these fellow musicians have talked about how blown away they have been by the talent of these two men.

"Hollmervalsen" opens with drums, organ and bass all sounding so amazing. Keyboards join in and it turns heavier 2 1/2 minutes in then the tempo picks up. Intense. Nice bass 8 minutes in and check out the drums and keyboards a minute later. "En Schizofrens Dagbok" has some incredible interplay on it. It's all so intricate and precise. "Ta Ned Trasan" is led by keyboards and drums early. It's insane 1 1/2 minutes in. Some crazy keyboard sounds before 3 minutes. Chunky bass a minute later. It settles before 6 minutes then it starts to rebuild.

"Jigsaw Variations" has this unsteady beat with guitar sounds. It gets louder. Great sound 3 minutes in until almost 5 minutes. "Guardian Pitch" opens with drums and bass. Keyboards before 2 minutes.This sounds so good. "Paltsug" is a short piece that ends with spoken words. "Etage A41" is uptempo and complex. Guitar before 2 1/2 minutes rips it up for a minute. Intense before 6 minutes to the end. "Min Hast" is led by guitar before 2 1/2 minutes as drums and bass pound it out. I really like when the organ comes in late. "Banned Again" is led by organ, bass and drums early. Keyboards after a minute. The drums are unreal. It settles before 5 minutes as the crowd roars it's approval at what they've been hearing. "Igloo" is the jazziest of all the songs. Vibes on this one too. "Kintormen" sounds amazing as the drums pound and keyboards play. It settles some after 3 1/2 minutes. Processed vocals end it.

Just an incredible display of instrumental talent on this one. A solid four stars.

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 Thanks For Flying With Us by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.98 | 8 ratings

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Thanks For Flying With Us
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Thanks For Flying With Us is so far the latest studio album from the creative duo known simply as Mats/Morgan. Since most of their albums are difficult to come by I prefer to stack myself up with cash every time I attend one of their live performances just in case there will be a merch stand. This album was one of those pleasant acquisitions and once again the band delivered an uncompromising set of tracks.

The music here is slightly more serious in its tone compared to what I've heard on their previous records which probably has to do with the fact that it's basically an all instrumental with the exception for the occasional vocal choirs and background narration on Not Us. It's also a much more Jazz Rock/Fusion-oriented release although there are quite a few exceptions to that as well. The last part of the album consists of some improv-sounding live material which should probably be considered a bonus since the concluding studio track Please Remain Seated ends with a 30 seconds silent pause.

I consider Thanks For Flying With Us inferior to the fun and quirky Trends And Other Diseases but I guess that most fans would acknowledge this direction as a sign of maturity. I also have some issues with the live tracks at the end of the album since their improvisational nature doesn't fit the overall sound of this record. At the same time it can be considered understandable since this was the first Mats/Morgan album released on a wider scale by an international label so they probably wanted to let the new fans see the different aspects of the band's repertoire. This is especially clear since the live material features a live version of Coco which is a well recognized Mats Öberg composition from the album The Music Or The Money

I'd say that Thanks For Flying With Us is an overall success in terms of creativity and delivery since the issues I mentioned can be considered trivial and unimportant in comparison to all the positive things about Mats/Morgan's uncompromising music. The loose concept of a simulated airplane flight gives the album just the right tone and flavor to blend the tracks together into a comprehensive collage of work.

Another great release by this aspiring band that I definitely can recommend to people on the lookout for new exciting music!

***** star songs: Sinus (4:56) La Baratte (5:50) Softma (3:31) Proppeller Hast (3:52)

**** star songs: Thanks For Flying With Us (3:34) Not Us (2:33) JF's Tati-Car (4:09) Wounded Bird (4:35) Allan In The Rain (4:03) Wenjie (3:11) Please Remain Seated (3:45) Coco (3:13) Live Neef (7:52) Ivan (7:28)

*** star songs: Adat Dropouts I Love You (3:00) Alive In Enskede (8:02)

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 Trends and Other Diseases by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.45 | 9 ratings

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Trends and Other Diseases
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Since I'm planning to attend this year's Lars Hollmer Tribute Night here in Stockholm I decided to go through as many of the tribute acts as I can.

I've always considered Mats/Morgan a highly under-appreciated band since they never really got the attention they deserved even here in their home country. To be honest I had to dust off my copy of Trends And Other Diseases before picking it up from the shelf so one might say that I'm guilty as charged!

Their music is a mix between Jazz Rock/Fusion and Frank Zappa-inspired comedic sections that makes this listening experience a real pleasure. Still for some odd reason I've had it in my collection for so many years and probably only heard it no more than 15 times in total. It's easy to blame the Jazz Rock part of the music since I'm not much of a Jazz fan to begin with. But I would probably put this particular album in the RIO/Avant-Prog section due to the music's unpredictability. Second possible reason for my hesitation could be blamed on the extended lengths that Mars/Morgan's albums entail. Considering that the band hasn't been all that productive in the studio recording department over the years it would have made more sense to split this and other of their lengthy releases into more albums. But this band have never been about selling albums and instead have concentrated on doing the music that they always love just the way they like it.

Trends And Other Diseases begins on a really heavy side with a down-tuned guitar riff by Fredrik Thordendal from Meshuggah followed by heavy drumming, underlying keyboards and on top of that vocals by Dilbahar, who I guess is the Swedish pop singer Dilba. This lethal combinations might not be that representative of the material yet to come but it definitely says a great deal about what the listener should prepare oneself for. The collaborations with Fredrik Thordendal has to do with Morgan Ågren's, and even to some extend Mats Öberg's, work on Fredrik's solo album titled Sol Niger Within and the track Ooo Baby Baby is also featured as bonus track on that release.

Overall the best way to describe this album is by calling it a collage of episodes and sounds that the band played around with at the time. The closest comparison that I can think of are the two early Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention albums Freak Out! and We're Only In It For The Money minus the anti-hippie statements! It's as random as it can get but among these tracks are a few fun melodic tunes although non of them plays like a straightforward composition. My personal favorites here are the quirky Guardian Witch and Stupid Bagatelle, these tunes are so catchy that they have a tendency of overstaying their welcome in my head. They make me hum and whistle them out loud which definitely alienates my friends and colleagues! The album ends with a fun little track where Mats is interviewed about Morgan where the interviewer makes some pretty hilarious old-fashioned remarks that make me smile every time I hear them. Which is then followed by the pleasant final track Mamma.

This early Mats/Morgan album shows the band playing the music that they like hence the album title. It's all about good old-fashioned fun of Frank Zappa and Samla Mammas Manna and I highly recommend the experience!

***** star songs: Guardian Witch (5:44) I See You (4:44) Stupid Bagatelle (2:19) Please Tell Me (5:14) Trash Romantic Land (4:07) Advokaten (4:51)

**** star songs: Russin Läsk (5:03) Trottsov (2:44) Read My Thoughts (9:15) Fire And Audio (6:04) Sockeplast (3:22) What´s That Guys Name? (3:26) Fialka´s House (1:20) Agent Soda (3:13) Ooo Baby Baby´s (1:53) The Krupa Question (1:09) Mamma (1:58)

*** star songs: Ooo Baby Baby (1:53)

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 Heat Beats Live / Tourbook 1991-2007 by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2008
3.09 | 5 ratings

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Heat Beats Live / Tourbook 1991-2007
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by victor77

4 stars Mats/Morgan Band new release is a great compilation of some of their most recent concerts, between 2005 and 2007, with some of their habitual bandmates, including Tommy Tordson on bass and Simon Steensland. The performances range from the solo to the quintet, from acoustic to electric, from great compositions to crazy improvisations, so you can appreciate the wide spectrum of their music. Moreover, this compilation includes a DVD by Morgan Agren, so newcomers to the band can understand where they come from and, for non beginners, discover the origins and previous incarnations of one of the most interesting bands of the moment

The album has a great start with "The Return of Advokaten", this time with a clear jazzy flavour on the beginning, very different to other versions of the song, but with the same crazyness throughout it. You can compare it with The Bösendorfer of Advokaten, much more experimental, to realize how inventive they are and how they can, like many master musicians, reinterpret their music in such different ways without being repetitive.

"Rhinecliff Hotel" is one of my favourite cuts, because I am very fond of their duo acoustic sets. Quite jazzy set with Mats Öberg on grand piano, very interesting, and far from their bombastic improvisations, for example the extended version of "Mats Jingle", mainly a drum solo with background keyboards, a piece where Morgan Agren displays all his energies. The duo format will appear later on the record in Watch Me Pleasure, this time with Mats Öberg on keyboards on a typical semi improvised song, quite different from the studio version.

"Pulse" is a very intriguing and mysterious track and, although it is highly promising, I think it is a bit too short, and I consider it only plays the role to provide the listener the opportunity to listen to the full band, with Robert Elovsson and Jimmy Agren. What a pity this is the only piece with this personnel.

The most aggressive parts of the record are represented with Tvingle and Truvas Rumba, where the band shows its most fierce playing with a brutal rhytm section and furious soloing, so you can fully appreciate the mutual understanding of the band members. Superb.

One of the curiosities of this record is the possibility to listen to Morgan Agren playing keyboards, but only in two minor studio pieces that are merely interludes, but it may be the beginning of a new dimension on his playing and maybe other developments on their future music.

The last song of the CD, "Cry of Laika", is a slow tune by Mats Öberg, soloing on keys and harmonica, with very delicate taste, and a great piece to finish the record in a very different way of their typical sets.

As far as the DVD is concerned, it is not a MATS/MORGAN BAND one, but a Morgan Agren one. I mean, you can understand a bit more the biography of the band through the biography of Morgan Agren, one of the most impressive drummers in current musical scene. It is quite interesting to watch his early performances with such a wide array of musicians, including jazz, rock, blues and classical music. As you can imagine, it is full of drum solos, even from his very beginnings. What I did not like about it is that there are too many excerpts so, at the end, it looks more as a collage than as a collection of performances. In my opinion, the best performances are those with Fredrik Thornendal and the 2007 Swedish set, from with some of the material of the CD was taken. Although I would not consider it an essential record by itself, I think it is a great idea to include it as a bonus.

MATS/MORGAN BAND become each and every day more essential to understand the most risky and unconventional side of modern music. They are highly talented as composers, but they are even better as players, and I think their music is not only addressed to those listeners interested in the most radical side of music, but also to open minded listeners who want to discover one of the most interesting band nowadays. I give this record 4 stars.

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 Radio Da da by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.92 | 4 ratings

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Radio Da da
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by victor77

4 stars On this occasion, the incrdedible swedish duo (along with some of their collaboators) brings one of their best recordings, not only because of the great musicianship displayed from the beginning to the end, but also because the result is somehow accessible for non-iniciated in the band and, to a further extent, newcomers on the most modern side of jazz rock. The references are the same as ever: modern jazz rock, improvisations, zappaism, avant, R.I.O., chamber music, and also pop performances appear on a record that has all the elements not to upset the listener. And so it is.

The great combination of musical adventures ("Här Kommer Bodd", "Täljes Logan",the fascinating "Fialka´s House", "Blobb", "Sigfrid") along with their particular approach to pop songs, ("Forest Man", "Darling, Darling" or "Djungle Man" are some examples of extremely risky pop compositions) gives them a very particular feeling (including some weirdness in "Beside the Swamp" or "Kul I Parken"). Besides these tracks, the best music of the record undoubtedly, there are also other minor tracks ( "Bangladesh Shuttzpa", "Ossians Hund" or the live "Radio Da Da", actually not very well recorded), a drum solo (quite original indeed "Svarta Kusen Solos") that don´t add much to the record on the whole

The result is a record that combines, as very few bands nowadays do, some of the extremisms of avantgarde with the charm and delicacy of jazz, pop and chamber music. Maybe some of the very hardcore fans of the genre would consider it as a light record, but for the rest of the people, it is a very interesting and reccomendable record to start discovering this fantastic band. 4 stars (those little tracks stop me from rating it with 5 stars)

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 Live by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Live, 2001
4.00 | 7 ratings

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Live
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dynamic-Duo takes a full band on the road

Sub-genre: Jazz/Rock Fusion (Very strong Zappa, almost RIO flavor)
For Fans of: Frank Zappa
Vocal Style: Instrumental
Guitar Style: Morgan's brother Jimmy provides occasional lightly distorted bluesy licks.
Keyboard Style: Various styles from Rhodes and B3 (clean and overdriven on both) to harpsichord/clavinova and vibe patches. Basically runs the table on synth patches.
Percussion Style: Morgan Agren's heavy rock set with syncopated virtuosity and thick polyrhythms.
Bass Style: Picked, slapped and heavy.
Other Instruments: Did I mention there are keyboards on this album?

Summary: It is only fitting that such a fine example of the improving quality of live recording would come from the Swedish protégés of one of the most prolific live recording artists, Frank Zappa. If not for the crowd in the background, it would be very hard to distinguish this from a studio album. The music is extraordinarily tight in the vein of early to mid-80's Zappa Jazz compositions with a hint of Weather Report/Return to Forever style Jazz/Fusion atrocities. The heaviness of the drumming sets this project apart from the aforementioned influences. While Morgan is certainly capable of dynamic contrast, he often displays it on this album; it is his assault and batteries that make me shake my head in disbelief. The key players are awesome (the album has 2 others besides Mats) but lend to the albums one big drawback in that it maybe just a touch to keyboard heavy. This, unfortunately, despite the quality and variation in playing, tends to cause a slightly redundant feel to the album. Another element that prevents masterpiece status is the notable absence of Mats' Stevie Wonderesque vocals and flavorful harmonica playing.

Final Score: This is a highly recommended addition to any progressive collection. This is one of the finest examples of modern live recording. Only minor setbacks as listed above. 4 stars.

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 Trends and Other Diseases by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.45 | 9 ratings

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Trends and Other Diseases
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Another reason to thank Zappa.

Swedish born Mats Öberg and Morgan Agren have been playing together since childhood. Mats, blind since birth, is a keyboard player/vocalist who invokes Zappa-esque writing with a sound not completely unlike Stevie Wonder. Morgan plays an assault of technically proficient and tasteful percussion. The duo was recruited by Frank Zappa during the final years of his life and can be heard on Zappa's Universe with a plethora of other FZ collaborators.

Mats/Morgan's debut Trends and Other Diseases is much like other Mats/Morgan work in that it is not intended as a straight forward tribute to FZ, but shares his style of odd arrangements, pop sensibilities with periodic forray's into unorthadox sounds, and is presented with a large array of guest musicians that reminds one of FZ's eclectic recruitment policies. The album begins with an unexpected grind out from fellow Swede, Mesuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal (a collaboration shared on Thordendal's Special Defects). The sound is in stark contrast to the more keyboard oriented sound of most of the remaining album. Much of what springs forth from Mats/Morgan's sound reminds the listener that thought provoking/technical writing and pop-oriented sounds are not mutually exclusive. Throughout the album Mats augments his already intriguing vocal style with various effects, pitchshifts and loop reversals. He also plays a mean harmonica. Morgan provides equally adept straight forward beats and jerky poly's to the mix with attention to song dynamics so often missing from rock drummers. His technical skill reminds one of Bruford while showing no fear hammering his skins with the unrelenting power of the most bombastic metal drummers.

Trends and Other Diseases is an absolute must for any fan of Zappa style music and highest recommendation for inclusion in any Progressive collection. 5 stars.

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 On Air with Guests by MATS-MORGAN (BAND) album cover Live, 2002
3.76 | 6 ratings

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On Air with Guests
Mats-Morgan (Band) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by victor77

5 stars Astonishing collection of radio tapes by one the freakiest bands nowadays. Mats Óberg and Morgan Agren are joined here with their regular players, accompanied here by other stars of swedish music scene. The result would be the answer to the question: what happens when funk meets prog in trhe hands of an extremely fast and aggressive band?

The record starts with a great intro, "En Schizofrens Dagbok", where you can imagine more or less what is comig on the record: furious and hypertechnical jazz rock. It continues with "Hollmervalsen", lots of frenzy in a piece with superb changes on rhytmics (it reminds me of FRENCH TV for the continuos chages and slight humour in the melody, very zappaesque indeed).

As a moment of relax before the storm, we have a cover of the classic by Alfred Ellis "Chicken" (maybe the fastest cover of the song is this one!). And here is the storm: Mats Öberg and Morgan Agren playing together with Frederik Thornendal in the heaviest part of the record, close to avant metal or even grind; incredible rol for Morgan Agran on drums. Then we have one of my favorites, "Advokaten", a song that changes every time is played, so we can verify their talent to remake their music on each occasion. this time, it starts with light percussives until the appearance of the theremin; then starts an oustanding crescendo that leads, us Zappa would say, to an orgasmic frenzy. Fiery jazz rock music at its best!

To stop the growing in intensity, "Min Häst" brings a lighter atmosphere with its funky kindness, so we can have mind and body prepared for the next blast: "Etage A-41",full hypnotic keyborads and rhytmics (once again FRENCH TV, but a couple of bits more accelerated). Return to calm with a bluesy tune from the JIMMY AGREN BAND (is it necessary to say that the quiet sections of this record could easily be the fastest of others?). On "Baader Puff/Paltsug" they show us their devotion to FRANK ZAPPA with a piece full of changes and absolute fun that reminds me of the best FZ: is it possible to make so much music in only 3 minutes? The last song of the record, "Ta Ned Trasan", very in a canterburian way (reminds me of NATIONAL HEALTH´s first record).

But there is a surprise, the prize for those who dared to listen to the whole record and remained still unsatisfied: ten minutes of what it seems to be a collage of improvisations with lots of electronic drums and programming. In fact, in an album with such an amount of musical researchers, this was the only instrument one not appeared yet.

How can I resume 70 minutes of superb avant jazz rock in two words? Absolutely essential. Not only is this band one of the best in current prog scene, they have reinvented the language of jazz rock and taking it to unknown dimensions worth to be discovered by all of us who love skilled musicians and creative and innovative music. 5 stars.

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Thanks to dick heath for the artist addition.

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