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Atomic: Pet Variations

Read "Pet Variations" reviewed by John Eyles

Formed in the spring of 2000, Scandinavian “supergroup" Atomic recorded and released their first album Feet Music (Jazzland) in 2001. The years since have been remarkably stable for the quintet; they have produced albums at an impressive rate of about a disc a year, including two collaborations with Ken Vandermark's School Days group. The only change of Atomic personnel occurred in 2014 when drummer Paal Nilssen-Love left to be replaced by Hans Hulbækmo, with no cataclysmic effect on the music, ...

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Atomic: Pet Variations

Read "Pet Variations" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The Scandinavian supergroup Atomic has always pushed back against “tradition," be it the customary sound of Nordic jazz or--maybe more importantly--what most believe to be the avant-garde. Each member has a thriving career outside the quintet: bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten with The Young Mothers, The Thing, Rempis Percussion Quartet, and his own trio and quartets, drummer Hans Hulbækmo with Moskus, pianist Håvard Wiik with Ken Vandermark and the Wiik Trio, saxophonist Fredrik Ljungkvist's work with Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity and ...

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Atomic: Six Easy Pieces

Read "Six Easy Pieces" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Founded in 2000, the Swedish/Norwegian group Atomic has remained true to their uncommon blend of American and European influences over the years. With only one lineup change since their inception, the quintet continues to pay homage--in equal parts--to the post 1960s era in the US, and the inherent innovations of Europe's northern-most region. With Six Easy Pieces the group sounds much as they did with their debut Feet Music (Jazzland Recordings, 2001) but with years of synergy to enhance their ...

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Atomic: Lucidity

Read "Lucidity" reviewed by Troy Collins

Living up to their name in performance and on record, the all-star Norwegian quintet Atomic challenges preconceived notions regarding the stereotypically introspective nature of Nordic jazz. Inspired by the unbridled spirit of 1960s American “Fire Music" and the post-war school of European free improvisation, Atomic eclipses the meditative lyricism of influential local legends like Jan Garbarek and Terje Rypdal, exemplifying the broad stylistic diversity of contemporary Scandinavian jazz.Formed in 2000, the original lineup brought together trumpeter Magnus Broo ...

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Atomic: Lucidity

Read "Lucidity" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

There's an inference on this Norwegian ensemble's webpage bio that its blend of free-jazz and dynamic mode of operations is the antithesis to their fellow countrymen's largely quaint or ethereal jazz output evidenced on ECM Records, for example. However, it's not that these innuendos or tenets are viewed as negatives, but the highly respected musicians comprising Atomic have been vigorously pushing the envelope since 2000. They are restless spirits who dish out a horde of cleverly arranged tonal ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Atomic at Nighttown

Read "Atomic at Nighttown" reviewed by Matt Marshall

Atomic Nighttown Cleveland Heights, OH February 10, 2015 Fresh in the glow of its 50th anniversary celebration, kicked off by a party a few nights earlier and extending through the end of the month, Nighttown put its eclecticism fully on display February 10, presenting powerful Scandinavian free-jazz group Atomic. The Nighttown faithful are, by and large, a straight-ahead crowd (two Manhattan Transfer shows set for Friday, February 13, sold out well in advance, for example), ...

LINER NOTES

Atomic: Retrograde

Read "Atomic: Retrograde" reviewed by Lloyd N. Peterson Jr.

Every time I have the opportunity to attend a performance by Atomic, I find myself asking, how does a band this dynamic and creative miss the radar on so many different media and industry levels? If the Miles Davis Quintet with Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Herbie Hancock could have rocked, they would have been the brilliant and ass-kicking Atomic. If they were from New York, my peers would be drooling at the opportunity to ...

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Atomic: Retrograde

Read "Retrograde" reviewed by John Kelman

Plenty has been written about the intersection--past and present--between members of the Swedish/Norwegian collective Atomic, and Chicago's Ken Vandermark's countless projects. Most telling, perhaps, is this simple fact: were Atomic American-based, there's little doubt it would garner similar accolades from a considerably larger audience unafraid of the kind of fearless experimentation that's been the quintet's signature since convening around the turn of the millennium. Retrograde is the group's fifth release and second three-CD set, following its all-live The Bikini Tapes ...

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Atomic: Happy New Ears!

Read "Happy New Ears!" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

The Swedish-Norwegian quintet Atomic was founded five years ago as an antithesis to the “frosty tundra bite of ECM lyricism," as Atomic's label, Jazzland, describes Atomic's raison d'etre. But things seem to have changed on this, their third studio recording, Happy New Ears!, (not including a Ken Vandermark collaboration, Nuclear Assembly Hall, Okka Disk, 2004).

The members of Atomic--Swedish/Stockholm-based reed player Fredrik Ljungkvist and trumpeter Magnus Broo; and Norwegian/Oslo-based pianist Havard Wiik, bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love--sound ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Atomic: The Bikini Tapes

Read "Atomic: The Bikini Tapes" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

Atomic The Bikini Tapes Jazzland Recordings 2005

The Norwegian-Swedish quintet Atomic may be considered the Scandinavian equivalent of Chicago's Vandermark 5. Atomic's compositions, like Ken Vandermark's, are loaded with clever references to the history of modern and free jazz, and both groups' players know how to integrate these influences without losing their original voices. The architecture of the compositions is very tight, with well written and complex ensemble passages, ...

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Atomic: Boom Boom

Read "Boom Boom" reviewed by Mark Corroto

In the liner notes to Atomic's second release, Ken Vandermark asks, “Who gives a shit about saving jazz?"

Nobody, and everyone. You see, jazz has always profited (not monetarily) from its constant flux. Its destruction has always been its salvation. Smashing Ornette Coleman's saxophone wasn't an effective PR stunt, and wardrobe malfunctions don't get the attention of jazz audiences. New approaches to music making do. The folks in accounting might only want to remaster the old warhorse, or ...

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Atomic: Feet Music

Read "Feet Music" reviewed by John Eyles

Named after an Ornette composition, Feet Music is the debut album from Atomic , and is the exception to the Jazzland rule in that it lacks the distinctive beats and rhythms of Oslo Nu-jazz. (Maybe this is why it is released on the Jazzland Acoustic imprint.) Atomic are an acoustic quintet with a classic sax/trumpet/rhythm-section line-up and no added frills, yet their music is completely at home on Jazzland, having the energy and air of challenge that is the house ...


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