Fire! – The Hands
(Rune Grammafon CD RCD 2197 RLP 3197. CD review by Tony Dudley-Evans)
The music of Fire! is interestingly difficult to define. It is certainly improvised music, but draws on a wide range of influences, from free jazz, rock and noise. The seven tracks here are clearly built around the heavy bass lines of Johan Berthling and the inventive rock influenced drumming of Andreas Werliin over which saxophonist Mats Gustaffson weaves very powerful lines on tenor, baritone and bass saxophones.
It perhaps lacks the subtlety of, say, Evan Parker improvising in a small group context, but it certainly creates a powerful atmosphere that has been compared with that on early Black Sabbath or Pink Floyd albums.
The mood changes from a full on, high energy approach on certain tracks, i.e. the title track The Hands, and then When Her Lips Collapsed and Washing Your Heart In Filth, to a more doom laden sound on two tracks Touching Me With Tips Of Wonder and To Shave The Leaves. In Red. In Black. Up and Down moves from the doom laden sound to a high energy conclusion. The final track I Guard Her To Rest. Declaring Silence is a much gentler track providing an interesting contrast to the rest of the CD.
The approach gives a stimulating example of one current approach to improvised music. The rhythmic patterns, particularly those provided by bass player Berthling. are clearly worked out in advance, but Mats Gustaffson is free to just play over these patterns. There is also some limited use of electronics with recorded voices appearing at the end of certain tracks. The titles of the tracks are also noteworthy and clearly some thought has gone into devising these.
The CD is quite short at 36 minutes.