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Fire! - Fire! Orchestra: Exit! CD (album) cover





3.88 | 19 ratings

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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

frippism | 4/5 |


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