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Friday, May 28, 2010

Angles - Epileptical West/Live In Coimbra (Clean Feed, 2010) *****

Last year regular reader Wojtek asked me why I didn't give the previous album by Angles, "Every Woman Is A Tree" a five star rating. And I reacted saying that I really had considered it, yet did not at the last moment. I will make up for this and give the band's new release the maximum rating, because every track on the album is equally strong and compelling, while the music is powerfully expressive, the playing exuberant and full of emotional depth.

The band is the brainchild of Swedish saxophonist Martin Küchen, and further consists of Mattias Ståhl on vibraphone, Magnus Broo on trumpet, Mats Älekint on trombone, Kjell Nordeson on drums and Johan Bertling on double bass.

Like its predecessor, the music is one long wail of protest and anger against the madness of today's world. In order to do that, the band falls back on African rhythms, grand themes, and tremendous playing. The wonderful first track could be coming from Bengt Berger's "Bitter Funeral Beer", (one of my all-time favorites) with its polyrhythmic drive, strong theme and wild interactions, yet which all fit into one whole.

The second piece, "Today Is Better Than Tomorrow", starts with slow vibes, and rumbling drums, as a gradual build-up for the glorious theme, introduced by Küchen, with the other horns echoing it, and driving it forward. It is of a hair-raising sadness.

The title track starts full of disorientation and madness over a strong rhythmic backbone, with Broo's trumpet leading the tune, then changing gear into a strong African rhythm, half-funky over which a compelling theme is woven, a solid base for the individual soloists to express their anger, and joy, then shifting back into chaotic madness, with the bass driving up the tempo to give Nordeson the chance to hammer away. "En Svensk Brownie", is again a funky rhythmic delight, evolving into middle piece with the arco bass and percussion reminiscent of Hemphill's Dogon A.D.

To my great joy, they also play the title song of their previous album, an absolutely stunning, stirring, rousing composition, again a gloriously expansive piece, that is both sad and joyful, angry and inviting, full of powerful soloing. The long last track is quieter, subdued, with Küchen's soloing beautifully soulful and bluesy, giving a great sense of compassion and hope at the same time.The piece becomes excited, then is crystalised around a sensitive arco bass solo by Bertling in the middle, then moving back to the main theme and related distress.

And it is a live album, with an audience that shouts full of enthusiasm, not only after the tracks, but also when the band unexpectedly change gear, or fall back into a steady groove. Great!

As you may read, I am excited. And more than just a little. This music gets you whole: soul, mind, heart and body.

If you buy only one album this year, buy this one!

Listen and download from eMusic.

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef


Anonymous said...

Their first one was absolutely fantastic, I'm glad to hear the new one is no step down from that!

Stef said...

No doubt about it!

Wojtek said...

I think I'm as excited as you are or even more.It reminds me of times when I heard things like "Survivor's Suite","A Love Supreme","Dogon AD"... for the very first time.It just leaves you in this strange state of emotional shock.It has explosive combination of intensity, joy, anger and sadness.And it is addictive.I can't stop listening :) Like you said: This music gets you whole: soul, mind, heart and body.I could not have said it any better.I agree 100%.Thanks again for all your great reviews.

joesh said...

Oh no, looks very interesting, I'll have to check this one out. Looks as though the wallet is going to be empty again this month.

.... I think I prefer 2 star reviews, it's less expensive ;-).

soyo said...

Pure energy.
This album has the intensity of the great recordings of free jazz.
How to write new thing in Swedish?
Also has very good melodies.
Clean Feed is one of the best labels today.


Richard said...

Just picked this up. It really is tremendous.

Yet another album I would never have heard of if not for this site. Thanks, Stef!

PS Does anyone know if there are any liner notes online? The song titles are enigmatic, to say the least. I would like to know more.

Guy said...

Finally got this one as well. GREAT album - massive, hypnotizing, intense, beautiful. Thanks for the convincing review! :)

Unknown said...

ANGLES 8 new release this july

BUT ANGLES 9 (nonet indeed) will play at BELGIE, Hasselt Sat Oct 13nd 2012....

Tickets available soon.

prof. kien said...

Great, Great, Great albüm...