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Friday, January 15, 2021

Like The Mind - Live At Fylkingen (Self, 2020) ****

By Stef Gijssels

Music like a breeze, light, ephemeral, intangible, moving. The ensemble brings us one improvised piece, framed by three short chord sequences composed by Elisa Torn, and it lasts a little over thirty minutes long. 

The ensemble are Lisa Ullén on piano, Peggy Lee on cello, Lisen Rylander Löve on saxophone, Meredith Bates on violin, Emma Augustsson on cello, and Elisa Thorn on harp, a sextet of three Swedish and three Canadian musicians (or Stockholm and Vancouver to be more precise). It is their first album, and it was recorded at the historic Fylkingen in Stockholm, Sweden, on February 28, 2020, following a week-long residency in Stockholm. 

The ensemble finds its collective work in the sonic zone outside the boundaries of jazz and classical music, in the musical realm where anything is possible, as long as the sound has a sense of direction, focus and coherence. And in the hands of these superb musicians this works extremely well. The music flows, and is in constant movement, in different layers and substreams, changing all the time, in intensity, in volume, in agitation, flowing back to calmer periods and newly found sensitivities. 

At the beginning of the year, Meredith Bates announced the creation of Like The Mind in an interview: "I created a band, Like The Mind. This is the year of me just taking the bull by the horns and sort of [laughs] manifesting my own destiny. I decided to become a band leader, so I created an all female powerhouse ensemble of improvisers and composers (...). All of these women have reached super high levels, won awards, toured the world, you know, collectively collaborated with so many amazing people and are also soloists in their own careers. I'm so excited to see what we come up with together. So, I created a residency at a spot called Fylkingen. We are going to spend four days creating and collaborating together and we will see what we come up with."

A powerhouse indeed. I hope that the current pandemic did not curtail the ambition to continue with the band. Their take on music is strong, full of character, inventiveness and instrumental and listening skills. 

Strong initiative, strong result. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp