The musical career of Swedish, Västerås-based guitarist Thomas Gunillasson flirts with early influences of Nordic metal bands and later sophistication of improvising jazz outfits and left-of-center rock outfits. Gunillasson plays in fellow Swede, and avant-garde vocalist Lindha Kallerdahl's GOLD band, co-leads the quartet Thymeshift with drummer Johan Björklund and leads the trio Les Pickadoles with ex- Zappa band drummer Morgan Ågren, known also from his Mats/Morgan Band, and bassist Gustaf Hielm, a former member of the Swedish metal band Meshugga.
Gunillasson's debut album as a leader features original tunes written over a five year period. He is accompanied by two members of Thymeshiftdrummer Björklund and reeds player Thomas Backman, and bassist Johannes Lundberg. Gunillassson's tunes meld the driving, aggressive sound of metal with virtuoso, atmospheric guitar pyrotechnics and sampled beats that reference the experiments of Radiohead and Björk.
This encompassing aesthetic works best when Gunillasson's impressive technique is submitted to touches of lyrical melancholy and fragility, as on the infectious "Kölden" and "Skisser Från Rosarve." Imaginative command of the guitar enables him to adapt organically to a heavy, fierce metal attack on a cinematic, Western-movie desert on "Vårstenar." On "Darsi" Gunillasson employs atmospheric sounds to create an exotic-meditative environment. On "Stephep Guitars" he frames the aggressive onslaught within a playfully addictive rhythmic setting. The last piece, "Polar Guitar," is the most beautiful. Gunillasson plays solo using various effects to weave a touching texture that lingers in mind long after it ends.
An impressive debut.
Track Listing: Ett Slags Därifrån; Färjan Över Sundet; Kölden;Vårstenar; Spoairu;
Stephep Guitars; Glashus; Darsi; Skisser Från Rosarve; Polar Guitar.
Personnel: Thomas Gunillasson: guitars, keyboard, voice, programming; Thomas
Backman: saxophone, clarinet; Johannes Lundberg: bass; Johan Björklund:
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.