Sound is a kaleidoscope of shapes. Here, it is formed by a trio that includes Mats Gustafsson, a multi-instrumentalist who has wet his lips in the company of Peter Brötzmann, Ken Vandermark, and John Corbett. Is it any surprise, then, that the music honks and hollers, spewing a volcanic steam of notes? But even as that happens, it relaxes into the calm of aftermath, soft shades that encompass interludes on the piano, a conversation with the drums, and moments of silence. A balance of sorts evolves. At the end of it all, the stentorious manifestations are primal to the cause, the results dazzling.
Clang and flutter sequence the opening as drummer Raymond Strid and pianist Sten Standell make brief exchanges, the situation ripe for Gustafsson to come in with some strangulated gusts before he opens the vent and frees short notes that grow in intensity as his mates push and prod the rhythm. "Handpicked evolves into an intense, stewing, melting pot of sound before it dips, all of a sudden, into a quieter mode. The air of calm becomes gentler, but nevertheless rich with deep explorations.
The landscape of the journey constantly shifts direction. Surprise is an element that keeps movement on edge, but there is something more. It comes in the way the three understand each other and how they pick up the mental thread that each unravels. Perhaps it comes from having been together since 1988. Yet, to their credit, time has not staled their impulses. Creativity is still ripe. And it is in that that their music bristles and stirs the senses.
Personnel: Mats Gustafsson: fluteophone; alto fluteophone, French flageolet; soprano, tenor and
baritone saxophone; Sten Sandell?: piano and voice; Raymond Strid: drums.