By Tim Niland
This is a very interesting band that has a wide open range: combining free jazz with progressive rock and brief brushes of psychedelia to make for a very alluring and original sound. It is only a quartet that makes the music on this album, but it sounds much larger because of the instruments they play, and they are constantly swapping different versions of their instruments to get different sounds. The band is Kristoffer Berre Alberts on alto and tenor saxophones, Jamie Saft on organs, moog, and lapsteel guitar, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on basses and Gard Nilssen on drums and electronics. “A Beautiful Nightmare” opens the album with raw and dense saxophone, heavy organ and drums wailing hard. The music is played with a great deal of focus, and the relentless peals of sax coming from Alberts is very impressive and make him someone I hope to hear more from in the future. Of course Saft, Nilssen and Haker Flaten are legends in their own right and they set the stage on “The Art of Silence” with scalding tremors of feedback and ominous groans of organ, bass and drums. The music becomes a fast and propulsive dark dance, like EDM from another dimension, with enthralling tenor saxophone soloing over the shimmering drum work. “Suspended Veil” is the anchor of the album, with the band spooling out a twelve minute improvisation that allows them to begin slowly and then harness the collective power of their musical ability to unleash a lethal collective improvisation that swirls with a kaleidoscope of colors and rhythms before Berre Alberts drops out for the remaining trio to have a riotous section of madly spinning excitement. “A Thousand Thousandths” ends the album in a rousing fashion, with an excellent rhythm from the percussion and guitars, aided by some rambunctious saxophone. The band ducks and feints with some great subtle moves before turning up the heat and blasting red hot to the final conclusion. Despite flying in the face of any genre convention, this album was quite a success. The music has the cosmic and atmospheric sound of the great Impulse! recordings, but it also is moving relentlessly forward into the future of progressive jazz.