Cortex: Göteborg (2012)
Cortex's sophomore recording, Göteborgnamed after the Swedish city where it was recordedkeeps this quartet in a fresh and kicking mood, the quartet still bursting with reckless energy. Trumpeter Thomas Johansson's writing is strong, possessing a melodic touch anchored by the powerful rhythm section of bassist Ola Høyer and drummer Gard Nilssen. The band's camaraderie excels with telepathic, tight interplay.
The album's six compositions feature the group's breadth of musical range. Saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts (a member of SAKA) and Johansson exchange confident and challenging solos which frame the unstoppable, muscular drive of "Nicotine." The restless, rolling Nilssen leads his quartet mates into the territory of John Zorn's Masada quartet, following that group's effortless, wild and energetic interplay and infectious sing-along melodies. The slow-burning "Endorphin" is a slow-burning piece featuring Johansson's brilliantly charismatic soloreferencing Atomic trumpeter Magnus Broo's free and impressive phrasingfollowed by Alberts' soaring solo.
"Decibel" draws inspiration from Zorn's cut-and-paste compositional techniques, alternating between massive rhythmic pattern and Johansson and Alberts' short, focused eruptions. "Cerebrum" unfolds patiently around Johansson and Alberts' emotional yet reserved solos, rooted by Nilssen and Høyer's gentle, playful rhythm. The closing "Hub" has a loose structure that leaves room for Alberts and Johansson's inspired, ferocious articulations, pushed by a tireless rhythm section.
Göteborg establishes Cortex as one of the greatest bands currently working in Norway.
Track Listing: Nicotine; virus; Endorphin; Decibel; Cerebrum; Hub.
Personnel: Thomas Johansson: trumpet; Kristoffer Alberts: saxophone; Ola Høyer: double bass; Gard Nilssen: drums.
Record Label: Gigafon