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Friday, March 26, 2010

Atomic - Theater Tilters, Vol. 1 (Jazzland, 2010)¨****½

Every new "Atomic" album is something to look out for. All of their albums are at the same high level of composition, interplay, instrumental skills and musical vision. That vision is a free form of bop, very rhythmic and full of emotional drive, while still being structured with themes and all, yet varying constantly: "fun and freedom" seems to be the motto. Atomic is Fredrik Ljungkvist on saxophones, and clarinet, Magnus Broo on trumpet, Paal Nilssen-Love on drums, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on bass and Håvard Wiik on piano, or Scandinavia's best.

The first piece, "Green Mill Tilter" starts full of power and drive, then quite rapidly calms down yet the drums' high speed rhythm keeps pounding on, with the intensity increasing with the trumpet and sax going crazy introducing the piano, smoothening the theme again, yet rhythmic mayhem continues, slowing down, when suddenly out of a bass solo a strong unison theme arises, solid and full of boppish delight, even if drums and bass keep a more rockish style.

"Andersonville", the second track is slower, gradually building up a theme out of pieces of sound, and once that's firmly established, it's deconstructed into total free territory, with all instruments shouting in chaotic dissonance, only to calm down again in subtle gentleness, shifting into a nice and joyful mid-tempo free bopper with a stellar trumpet solo by Magnus Broo.

The third piece, "Fissures", is incredibly intense in the beginning, then slows down to play the theme, offering great solo moments for Ljungkvist and Håker Flaten, then moving back into the tempestuous wildness of the beginning of the tune. "Murmansk" is a wayward piece with the lead instruments playing the theme as a kind of delayed echo to each other : strange and attractive. The last track is a wild rambunctious, full of joyful exuberance and wildness, with a theme that could have come from Ayler or Coleman.

Applause! Enthusiasm! Joy!

Looking forward to Vol. 2?

You bet!

© stef


Maciej Nowotny (Editor) said...

Excellent band indeed. Nice to read they recorded good new stuff. Thanks for info :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Stef,

This sounds great, but I can't seem to find it. It doesn't even appear to be on Jazzland's website.

Any thoughts?


Unknown said...

Great band cant be missed. It should be soon available at for download or in physical format

allan said...

I've just pre-ordered my copy from They are usually slightly more expensive but they are very reliable and stock CD's you can't find anywhere else -- for instance IPA's Lorena (Magnus Broo/Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten/Hakon Mjaset Johansen/Atle Nymo)-- great music!

joesh said...

Great music, and really a cut above most bands nowadays on the jazz scene. Fresh, melodic, not melodic, free-improv, great melody, the list goes on.

The only big disappointment is that JazzLand cannot seem to put something into there CD presentation. Why should I pay good money for a folded piece of paper for an inner sleeve? OK, we're paying for the music, but at least make the packaging collectable and inviting!