Mattimatti – Tomrum
(Agogo Records AR105CD. CD Review by Stephen Vitkovitch)
Tomrum (the word means void or vacuum in Swedish) charts the musical friendship of two Mattis (Matti Nilsson and Christoph (Matti) Matenaers) who began playing improvised tunes on sitar and hang on the street while travelling through Sweden and Germany. But don’t let that put you off, there’s substance here.
The album starts in meditative fashion, then grows as gradually more layers are thrown in – with a surprising amount of complexity for something that was recorded in just an hour, due to computer issues chewing up the rest of the day’s work. It’s not a surprise to read that Nilsson and Matenaers have played together for years; what they achieve in improvising is clearly built on a firm understanding of the other’s approach and musical outlook. Nilsson on clarinet is a highlight, and his mastery of a variety of instruments is pleasingly showcased here, taking on sitar, guitar, harmonica and space echo too.
This is a soundtrack to your life inside a Nordic Noir thriller, just at the moment where they shift into slow motion and pan around the protagonist as carnage kicks in. This isn’t to say the music is violent, it isn’t, but it feels like there is an undercurrent of menace, something looming in the background. While the two Mattis are the core of the group and the genesis of the name, it’s their guest Anton Ingvarsson on bass who underpins things. Ingvarsson delivers the intensity which characterises the record, and for me invokes the spirit of Pink Floyd’s Careful With That Axe Eugene.
The group use adjectives like “hypnotic” and “mythical” to describe the work, and I wouldn’t disagree. The sense of magic is reflected in the artwork depicting a forest shrouded in mist. You might struggle with exactly where to place the CD or vinyl in your collection, but it does deliver an interesting documentation of what three friends with a common vision can produce under time pressure.
Categories: CD review