Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Thing: Swedish Rampage

The Thing (group; fromed 2000)
Bag It! (Smalltown Superjazz)

White Noise with style and beauty. That's probably the best way to describe it.

The Thing are a power trio from Sweden, who along with Acoustic Ladyland, Supersilent, Atomic and Polar Bear have been pushing the sound barrier of jazz for a decade now. Led by the creative mastermind of saxophonist Mats Gustaffson, Paal Nilssen-Love (drums), & Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten (bass), The Thing is a consistent and reliable source for a challenging good time on every outing.

The Thing's new album (8th in total), Bag It! was produced appropriately by legendary noise maker, Steve Albini (founder of alternative band Big Black) whose production credits include The Pixies, Wedding Present and more. The album features covers of Duke Ellington "Mystery Song" and a rapturous version of Albert Ayler's "Angels" as well as their own "Hot Doug" to name a few.

The Thing do a masterful job of melding the avant garde and punk ethos together with fantastic results. While most European jazz recently has been based on the Miles Davis fusion era, The Thing has used prog-rock (King Crimson, Can, etc.) and jazz (Albert Ayler, Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, etc.) as their launching pad to explore new ideas that would probably make Miles and Coltrane extremely proud. The Thing isn't for everyone but if you like your music loud, improvised and in your face, then The Thing's Bag It! is the perfect starting point for self destruction (or self evaluation).

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