Magnus Öström – Parachute
(Diesel Music. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
The third solo album from Swedish drummer Magnus Öström marks a slight departure from his previous two releases: it has a much more optimistic view. Most tracks have the same intense drive as before, but they are more upbeat in approach.
Öström is joined by the same musicians as the first two outings, too, so whilst he wrote all the music, it seems very much like a band project. The defining sound is that of Andreas Hourdakis‘ guitar chopping through the intricate riffs as Öström pushes his insistent, complex rhythms.
Keyboard player Daniel Karlsson comes into his own on the slower numbers, such as The Green Man And The French Horn, a gentle piece with piano figures reminiscent of some of Arvo Pärt’s tunes. Öström matches the mood with delicate brush patterns.
Bass player Thobias Gabrielson also provides some keyboards and bass synthesiser programming, but what electronics there are provide texture and depth.
The title track – named, Öström says, because “when I have been at my lowest… music has always been there to save me, it had been my Parachute” – is a suitably energetic tube, full of vitality. Karlsson plays a fast, bluesy solo, rushing headlong down the rails.
The Shore Of Unsure sees the quartet joined by Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick who contributes a slow lyrical solo.
The album closes with a slow, wistful piece, All The Remaining Days, Öström once more using gentle brush strokes. Karlsson takes an exploratory solo which brings the album to a somewhat unresolved stop.
Parachute is a brighter, easier record to listen to than its predecessors, Öström taking us to some sunnier, though no less lively places.
(Magnus Öström appears at Ronnie Scott’s on April 26.)
Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.