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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Boots Brown - Dashes to Dashes (Häpna, 2014) ****

By Stef 

Boots Brown is a different kind of band, maybe also of brand. It consists of musicians we know from different contexts and different sounds. Mats Gustafsson on alto, David Stackenäs on guitar, Magnus Broo on trumpet, and Johan Berthling on bass. 

The four musicians interact with short phrases, with single note responses, in a murmur of dialogue, soft-spoken and intense, open-ended and surprised at each other's interjections, yet sufficiently interested to add some of their own. But it is more than call and response. The four create something together, something spontaneous, with instant lyricism, like birds of different breeds celebrating the first light of day. It is gentle, a celebration of sound, somewhat abstract and also intimate co-creation, agitated at times but never for long, fragile in the lightness of its overall texture yet solid in the conviction of each instrument to let its voice be heard. Despite its lightness and lack of density and low volume, this is not minimal music, there is a lot happening actually, many things that are inventive and fun and a pleasure to the ears, even if these ears get stretched a bit at times.

The most amazing thing is that this sound is created by these musicians in particular. Possibly it is closest to Stackenäs' usual idiom, but even then. This is not your usual Gustafsson or Broo or Berthling, and still despite the know voice of each of these musicians, they manage to create something this different, so quiet and human and abstract. A great demonstration of versatility, band coherence and open-mindedness .



Colin Green said...

In a sense Gustaffon's exploration of micro dynamics is not all that surprising in the light of his work with John Russell who plays a nun amplified acoustic guitar so that Mats is forced to play much quieter than he usually does, which brings out a different side to his playing. I expect to hear more of this from him.

Colin Green said...

Doh...non amplified. Apologies to any nuns who read this blog - I wouldn't dream of it!