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Fire! biography
Mats Gustafsson is almost cult figure in Scandinavian avant-punk-free-jazz for decades. And if his solo releases and collaborations of last years are usually strongly rooted in free jazz, this new band,Fire!, founded in 2009, is different.
Trio of respectable European avant-jazz musicians plays explosive mix of electro-acoustic, industrial, creative garage rock and free jazz, influenced by Soft Machine's legacy.
Band is kind of Swedish supergroup - besides of sax player Gustafsson (who is best known by his participation in The Thing), other members are well known by their previous works as well: bassist Johan Berthling, co-founder of Häpna and member of Tape, Animes and Sten Sandell Trio, and Andreas Werliin, the drumming half of Wildbirds & Peacedrums amongst other things.
Their debut album "You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago" was released on Norwegian leading prog label Rune Grammofon and contains excellent material for everyone searching of fresh and energetic look on free jazz based avant prog, rooted in psychedelic, krautish legacy, distorted minimalist drum/bass sound, Fender Rhodes and sax attacks.

The band:

Mats Gustafsson - saxophones, Fender Rhodes and live electronics
Johan Berthling - bass, guitar, organ
Andreas Werliin - drums and percussion

Slava (Snobb)

Fire! official website

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FIRE! discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

FIRE! top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fire! with Jim O'Rourke: Unreleased?
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fire! with Oren Ambarchi: In The Mouth - A Hand
3.96 | 13 ratings
Fire! Orchestra: Exit!
0.00 | 0 ratings
(Without Noticing)
4.00 | 4 ratings
Fire! Orchestra: Enter
3.50 | 2 ratings
She Sleeps, She Sleeps
4.00 | 1 ratings
Fire! Orchestra: Ritual

FIRE! Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Fire! Orchestra: Second Exit

FIRE! Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FIRE! Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FIRE! Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Fire! with Jim O'Rourke: Released!
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fire! with Mariam Wallentin & David Sandström: Det Flygande Barnet

FIRE! Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fire! Orchestra: Exit! by FIRE! album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.96 | 13 ratings

Fire! Orchestra: Exit!
Fire! RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Originally written for

Swedish sax player Mats Gustafsson is a household name in the local alternative scene, and his countless projects represent a wide range of jazz-related alternative music from the scratchy punk-jazz of The Thing, to "out" solo improvs and free-form duos with English bassist Barry Guy, as well as others. Last year (2012), when his Norwegian-Swedish trio The Thing released an album with r'n'b/hip hop vocalist and Don Cherry step-daughter Nenah Cherry, it almost sounded like a joke - but only on the first spin. Catchy RnB songs supported by a rocking/free-jazz trio were strange, but an attractive mix which received good media and listener attention.

All of that looked like a one-night adventure until the end of this January when Mats continued the same concept of adding guests to his groups, but with a much more ambitious project. Using his other trio - the all-Swedish Fire!, he formed a 30-piece Fire! Orchestra adding 5 vocalists, 10 reed players, 4 guitarists, 3 drummers, 3 bassists, plus a keyboardist and electronics wizard to the original trio's line-up! Based on the ritualistic lyrics written by Dutch avant-garde rock musician Arnold de Boer, Orchestra recorded a two part suite with chant vocals from Mariam Wallentin (of Swedish experimental duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums) and Ethiopian-Swedish soprano Sofia Jernberg.

By its concept, Exit! could be compared with Carla Bley's "Escalator Over The Hill", Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra or Keith Tippet's Centipede - but transferred to the XXI century. From the very first seconds the listener will be caught by industrial rock pulsations orchestrated by a mind-blowing reeds section and exceptional vocals. The Cherry Thing sounds like a childish rehearsal compared to Exit!'s monumental beauty. With support from leading Swedish jazz and avant-garde rock musicians such as guitarist David Stackenas, bassist Dan Beglund (ex E.S.T., Tonbruket), reeds players Fredrik Ljungkvist (Atomic) and Magnus Broo (Atomic, Angles) as well as others, this work represents the entire modern experimental Swedish scene at its best. Avant-garde free-jazz/rock big band with operatic vocals and contemporary classical music elements played live in front of an enthusiastic audience - you just have to hear it!

It's a pity the album is so short, just around 45 minutes. Mats is known as a passionate vinyl record collector, probably it's the reason why his albums are usually just vinyl disc-long.

Highly recommended - I believe this album will take an honorable place among this year's best releases.

 Fire! Orchestra: Exit! by FIRE! album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.96 | 13 ratings

Fire! Orchestra: Exit!
Fire! RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by frippism
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Exit all areas!!!!

Recently I saw a guy make up a list called something like "top albums of 2013 which I only found out about in 2014". "Exit" would probably be number 1 for me on that list. It would probably one of the top albums on my original 2013 list as well if I didn't discover it through PA user Guldbamsen (thanks David!). Upon first listen I was so in awe of it that I went immediately on a scavenge for the album around Tel Aviv, eventually ordering the LP from one of the stores.

What is it you ask? Probably one of the more interesting releases of the year, this free jazz psychedelic krautrock electronic big band ensemble thingamabob is probably one of the most mind-bending, masterful things to come out of Swedish free jazz saxophonist Mats Gustafsson's head. A really big.. big band, Fire! Orchestra consists of 4 (!!) bassists, 4 drummers, 4 guitarists, 3 vocalists, 11 horn players, and 2 pianists/ organ players and one guy on electronics, there is no logical way this wouldn't be the most horrifyingly convoluted mess to ever come out of Sweden (except for Opeth hayooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo). But it just works so well- there are the dissonant explosions of free jazz horns, but they all come at the right moments, and the grooves are hypnotic and repetitive. The whole thing is shockingly coherent. Gustafsson has managed to take a bunch of the most interesting diverse musicians in Scandinavia and make an utterly bizarre but addictive and entertaining album.

The album consists of two side long tracks, both of them focusing mostly on long, hypnotic grooves which eventually slowly break down into more chaotic and dissonant free jazz explosions. Both tracks are equally strong with some of the most impressive vocals I have ever heard. One of the vocalists manages to twist her voice in such amazing ways that she manages to transition through one or two octaves ease and has a ridiculous vibrato that she sometimes does which is insane. I love the fact that there are four drummers- the scatters of tiny drum fills barely noticeable are great fun. I still don't really get why the band has four bassists- three uprights and one electric, though it does somewhat add to the volume of the groove. The guitar solos are also great, spastic and bendy.

The only small fault in my opinion in the album is that the second track goes for a bit too long, with a full blown free jazz finish, all the instruments pretty much just ripping it. It ain't bad, but in my opinion they could have ended the track wonderfully with the vocalist's final performance, which is great throughout the album.

We have an album here that manages to both sound like a modern free jazz record while still reminding you clearly of the big bands of traditional jazz a la Duke Ellington, and at the same time adding electronics and psychedelic elements. It's ridiculous, it was probably never done before. It is a fun, rewarding and thought-provoking album. Strongly recommended for all jazz-heads here, all fans of free jazz and of Mats Gustafsson's stuff along with any RIO fans. Simply a fantastic album. 4.5

 You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago by FIRE! album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 1 ratings

You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago
Fire! RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars Swedish sax player Mats Gustafsson is one of most respectable avant jazz player in Europe during last decade. His roots are deep in punk-jazz band The Thing, and for years he is known by his many different collaborations and energetic concerts. I saw him live few times (playing solo, with Barry Guy or Liudas Mockūnas), it always was great explosive show!

The problem with Mats' recordings was they were often too abstract and too "out" even for his fans. His current project Fire! (trio with bassist/guitarist Johan Berthling of the ambient electronic duo Tape, and drummer Andreas Werlin of experimental pop duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums) should solve this problem easily. Just four compositions but they really show another Mats' side. Rhythm section build hypnotic, sometimes funky, repetitive rhythm structure with obvious influence from Can and Canterbury scene (Soft Machine mostly). Mats's sax are sharp,but enough ascetic, covering the dense rhythm vibrations by free jazz soloing.

Compositions are all quite well structured, some contain high-pitched female vocals (guest vocalist Mariam Wallentin) and endless Hammond organ drones.Besides of sax,Mats plays Fender Rhodes(!)on this album as well.Being still free jazz album by its atmosphere, there are plenty of grooves and tunes on it, and I believe this Fire! debut could attract much wider listeners to Mats music - psychedelic instrumental music lovers and electronic fans wouldn't be disappointed by release for sure.

Thanks to snobb for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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