Monday, January 23, 2012

The Thing: Mono

The Thing (group)
Mono (SmallTown Jazz; 2011)
Mats Gustafsson (sax)
Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten (bass)
Paal Nilssen-Love (drums)

Gustafsson, Haker-Flaten and Nilssen-Love return in the best way possible--in mono. Mono is the trio's 9th (or 12th if you consider their three disc boxed set, Now And Forever)  album, and it delivers with interesting and exciting results. Mono is raw as ever and captures the grit of their musicianship more so than recent recordings. If that was possible. 

The funky thumping of Haker-Flaten and Gustafsson's cattle call on the opener, "Viking" signifies a pulsating and exciting experience in store for you the listener at home. It's a blistering piece that only settles at the very end. "Bruremarsj" is calm and reflective. A ballad if I could use the term loosely. Soft movements and some breathy intonations from Gustafsson, circular rotations from Nilssen-Love and almost lower registered touches on the strings from Haker-Flaten make this a deeply personal and resonate experience. 

"Silver Slipper" while the shortest piece on the album provides all the aggression The Thing have come to represent--white noise, bliss and adventure. "There is Shitloads of Red Meat Missing" see the group experimenting with sound and texture. Gustafsson horn ripples along like slow water torture. Flaten and Love provide a haunting backdrop of vibrations that help close out the session. 

There's definitely shades of Ornette in the The Thing DNA but they continue to make themselves stand as one of the best European trio on the scene today. Mono is just another supreme work in a cannon that doesn't seem to stop astounding. Excellent stuff.

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