Click here to [close]

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fire!Orchestra: Second Exit (Rune Grammofon, 2014)

By Martin Schray

Not only in our opinion, but also in those of The Wire, Quietus, Mojo and Jazzwise Fire! Orchestra’s “Exit” was one of the most interesting, daring, adventurous, thrilling, exciting – in one word: best – albums of 2013. Maybe the exuberant reviews were also a reason why Mats Gustafsson and his men were touring Europe, in Scandinavia they really managed to stage the whole crew sometimes (up to 30 musicians), for the rest of Europe they boiled it down to at least 13 members including new member Goran Kajfes on cornet and previous Fire!guest and guitar wizard Oren Ambarchi. And if you think that this reduction weakens the impact the music has on you, you are definitely wrong.

Basically “Second Exit” is just a live version of “Exit”, the two tracks are again “Part One” and “Part Two”, so the frame, the notated parts are the same as on “Exit”. The music differs as to the vocals - Mariam Valentin’s hippiesque-psychedelic voice and Sonja Jernberg’s helium-induced phrasings are even more in the foreground than on the studio album – and the increased use of electronics and guitar. Again the music on this album creates an atmosphere which is strained to the breaking point, it is a permanent up and down of shock waves.

The most incredible and exquisite parts are the reeds battles between Elin Larsson and Goran Kajfes, Oren Ambarchi’s solo in front of the wall of sound of the orchestra, and the electronics’ meandering in “Part Two”, before the tutti parts bring the whole thing to a painful end.

“Second Exit” is simply another bitches’ brew of frenetic noise, dirty rock grooves, manic electronic sounds, genre-crossing elements, solo versus razor-sharp brass sections, and soul/free jazz.

So why is there no ranking? If I had to rate it, it would definitely be five stars, the music is excellent, those who loved “Exit” will love this album as well. But it is rather a collector’s item than a must-have for everyone, available as a limited vinyl edition of 500 copies mainly to be sold at the Rune Grammofon website and from

Fire!Orchestra on “Second Exit” is:
Mariam Wallentin – voice
Sofia Jernberg – voice
Elin Larsson – tenor sax
Anna Högberg – alto sax
Mats Gustafsson – baritone sax, electronics
Goran Kajfes – cornet
Mats Alekint – trombone
Sten Sandell – piano, electronics
Joachim Nordvall – electronics
Oren Ambarchi – guitar
Johan Berthling – bass
Andreas Werliin – drums
Will Guthrie – drums, percussion

Watch an extract of the concert here:


Roberto - Fotógrafo de Jazz said...

Thanks for discover me this group!!!!