Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Godforgottens - Never Forgotten, Always Remembered (Clean Feed, 2009) *****


The Sten Sandell Trio + Magnus Broo is something else entirely than what you would expect. The band is called the Godforgottens, with Magnus Broo on trumpet, Sten Sandell on Hammond B3 organ and piano, Johan Berthling on double bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums.

The first piece starts like a tune from a nightmare, with hypnotic bowed bass, an endless menacing organ sound circling around a single tonal center, chaotic background percussion and the trumpet that hovers over it all, screeching full-voiced. Gradually rhythm emerges, the tempo increases, bass strings are plucked, piano chords add drama. The trumpet is still lamenting. Full voice.Then stops. The piano chords run wild. The drums roll, full of patternless madness. Then the storm dies down.

The second piece starts with tribal drumming, deep-voice throat-singing by Sandell, hesitating trumpet tones. The sound of the unexpected. Totally unexpected. Then you get the organ again. Quite harmonious yet weird. Full of gravitas and fire. The trumpet follows suit in short staccato blasts. Even if the rhythm section does everything not to create a sense of flow - at best rocks thundering down mountains, the organ and the trumpet do have a sense of direction: they flow.Then stop. Then it's Paal Nilssen-Love demonstrating what modern drumming should sound like: all spikes and splinters and unreleased built-up tension. Piano and trumpet dance around each other. Remaining pounding. Staccato. Slowing down. Bass plucked. Sensitivity reigns. Subtlety dominates. Bass bowed. One note on piano. Two notes on piano. A bell-like trumpet sound. A cymbal. Like after the storm: raindrops falling from leaves.

The third piece starts with the known and appreciated Broo & Nilssen-Love duet. Broo can sound like Don Cherry, and like Louis Armstrong and like Lester Bowie, with a deep sense of blues and lyricism. Even in his wildest excursions, like here. The drums go through the roof. The piano joins the free bop. Out of the ensuing chaos, the bass emerges as the solid foundation. Sandell takes the lead. Then Broo does Cherry: all sympathy with the universe, joyful and sad, dancing and serene. The whole band joins. Light-footed and deep. So beautiful. Then the organ is back. Dark and menacing. Supported by the bass. Scattering the joy. No rescue possible. All hope gone.The trumpet screaming in wild laments. High and piercing. The drums rattling. Increasing the tempo. The intensity. Broo counters with a powerful melodic phrase. All heart and warmth. Subduing the violence. Redemption? Resignation? Revenge? It all ends with a single endless organ tone, over which Sandell practices his tuvan overtone singing, shamanistic and tribal ...  mesmerizing.

You can't put this music in a genre box. It's fantastic. 

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© stef

1 comment:

Morgen said...

Blown away by this maelstrom...
Thanks, Stef, for this awesome discovery.
Will dig for more Sandell/Broo stuff.