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This Nordic experimental supergroup originally consisted of core trio
Mats Gustafsson (sax)
Johan Berthling (bass guitar),
Andreas Werlin (drums),
who released music under the name FIRE!
The group joined together with the idea of a fresh approach to improvised music, with a number of influences from free jazz, psychedelic rock, and noise.
The project came to light in 2009 when the trio was booked to play a gig at Riche in Stockholm. The band followed this with the five-track album You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago on Norwegian label Rune Grammofon, and played live in Scandinavia and festival dates throughout Europe.
In 2010 the group joined forces with musician Jim O’Rourke and the four of them toured Japan together, leading to the release of Fire! with Jim O’Rourke.
Australian multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi was the next collaborator, and they subsequently recorded the album Fire! with Oren Ambarchi.
In 2013, the group cherry-picked 28 members from the Scandinavian jazz, improvisation, and avant-garde rock music scene to supplement the core band’s sound with vocals, trumpet, trombone, alto sax, tenor sax, bass sax, baritone sax clarinet, bass clarinet, guimbri, guitar, synthesizer, harmonium, piano, organ, keyboards, electronics, electric bass, acoustic bass, and drums. This resulted in the album Exit!, which was recorded, mixed, and mastered in Stockholm and was followed by a European tour. Enter! was released in early 2014, this time being a studio session, recorded in Gothenburg.
~ James Pearce, Rovi
“Fire!” is Mats Gustafsson on saxophones and Fender Rhodes, Johan Berthling on bass, electric guitar and Hammond organ, and Andreas Werliin on drums. The first piece is built around a repetitive bass vamp, a solid anchor point for the drums to go haywire and Gustafsson to have a no-holds-barred sax solo, screaming and wailing as if his life depended on it, yet ending all smooth and gently. The second piece, “But Sometimes I am”, starts with a slow acoustic bass figure around which Werliin adds percussive depth on his cymbals. After some four minutes the sax joins with some gut-wrenching multiphonic sound, full of distress and sadness, a sound which is so unmistakably identifiable as Gustafsson, so human and authentic that it’s really frightening, and – suprise – his sound merges into some high-toned singing by Mariam Wallentin, on a true psychedelic backdrop reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Careful With That Axe, Eugene”, but then the electronics set in as the speed increases, moving to an inevitable paroxysm we know from the early Floyd. Absolutely mesmerizing. “Can I Hold You For A Minute”, starts with a rock-ish mid-tempo beat, with bass and drums laying a repetitive pattern for the electric guitar and keyboards to build a hypnotic wall of sound, through which Gustafsson’s piercing sax comes tearing through, as if his soul was condemned, for ever.
The last track starts light-footed, with some handclapping accompanying a repetitive sax over an odd 2/4 rhythm, of which the tempo increases, a little too joyful and too much of a contrast with the carefully built up atmosphere of the previous tracks.
This is not fusion. It is not even progressive jazz rock à la Soft Machine. It’s the endless psychedelic and epic – as yet unpolished – sound mastership of the early Pink Floyd in a more modern form with the magnificent voice of Gustafsson to add emotional power.
“Fire! – This simple but evocative name for an underground power trio with Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and the drumming half of Wildbirds & Peace Drums, Andrew Werliin, sounds already on the paper like a dream situation for the Swedish, currently wonderfully fluent, jazz and improvisation scene. You liked me five minutes ago (the enigmatic title comes from the American poet Robert Creely) is the trio’s debut, where we, in anticipation of the album with solo soprano, may be content to Gustafsson including strumming away on a Fender Rhodes piano!
Sometimes you get a bit puzzled over the Swedish music press. This is a band that should get much more attention than many other subtle oddities that fill the newspapers’ cultural coverage, especially since this is not any “serious” music. Hardly a word is written. Possibly because they’re at a Norwegian company, or that music includes a saxophone, a stinging fact that seems to be impossible even for a download strong indie audience.
Anyway. This is a band I of the above reason to celebrate blindly. But it is not easy. In short: music is brilliant, at times on the verge of goose bumps warning. It is a slow-but-safe development of heavy rhythm that same slow-but-surely enter the polyphonic overtures, sometimes as if Black Sabbath and Neu had shared rehearsal space in sober time. But in view of the musicians involved so I set high standards. It is this ‘slow-and-safe’ as the more omlyssningar forming a bitter. The project is too fast hopkommet, just not assented. It is music that is improvised, sure, but the form is conceived from the beginning. How does it feel in each case. It is a bit like that term “record collector music”, ie. playing a music that sounds like one’s own record collection: a little free jazz, some Sabbath, a little kraut … Sometimes, as if Cream was produced by Conny Plank … Nico shows up, humming and bikes for a while and headed out … (why can not she stay?)
I do not want to delude anyone that this album is one flounders, far from it. Again, it is really good. But still annoying when you hear that during all this, there is great potential that seems to be restrained.”
NEW REVIEWS OCT 2013
some recent reviews of our new album : without notice
and a recent live review:
Download High-Rez by clicking at the photo
FIRE ORCHESTRA 2015
Born on a 3 am decision… after finishing up a trio tour in France 2011 – Fire! Orchestra came into being. A necessity it proved to be, for the members of the trio (Gustafsson, Berthling and Werliin) – and a creative and beautiful challenge for all involved.
The positive shock after trying out the first version of the Orchestra in 2012 – an extreme free jazz halleluja mayhem happening at the classic Fylkingen venue in Stockholm – rapidly turned into a serious attempt to gather all creative forces around the trio and make music – in a larger format – never heard before!
Fire!- trio- music extra extra large.
The new Fire! Orchestra wants to push the limits of what is possible when it comes to building and releasing energies and frictions within the concept of a 19- piece group.
Drums, bass and horns in focus with layers of guitars and electronics making it all exploding and imploding, songlike themes delivered by extreme vocalist – conducted by a spontaneous improvised music windmill – … and the RIFFS carrying it all —— makes this unit a unique one in creative music today.
Transforming the trio music of Fire! into a larger beast of beauty.
Creative musicians from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and France gathers in an (un)holy union of noise, free jazz, riffs, industrial noise, psych rock, improvised music and related activities.
Elements of the past meets elements of the instant NOW and the future.
Generations of experience, creativity and curiousness.
After numerous tours, in various formats, the Orchestra has now established the line up for 2015. The old pieces “Exit” and “Enter” are still up for grabs – but 2015 sees the focus on a new piece: “RITUAL”!
Premiered in April 2015 in Stockholm at the Orionteatern.
“RITUAL” is written by Gustafsson, Berthling and Werliin – together with our close collaborator : Mariam Wallentin.
Lyrics by Erik Lindegren and Mats Gustafsson
Sound by Mikael Werliin
Lights by Anders Heberling
Extreme energy and flow meets noisy slabs of poetry and fused high octane riffs.
Conductions, free improvisations, burst of spontaneous horns, bizarre slide instrument activities, keyboard frenzy, abstract electronic infusions, roaring guitar mayhem and voices from heaven and hell meets in an outburst like nothing else never ever heard.
It is all about sharing. It is all about the mystery. The Ritual. The moment, the stage, the music, the life.
Extreme riffs being the hub on the wheels of the Orchestra – moving it all forward and in any directions desired.
The story of Fire! continues…. What started as a trio by an invitation, by legendary organizer and creative personality Conny Charles Lindström in Stockholm, is now full ON in two separate projects:
Fire! – the trio (since 2009
Mats Gustafsson – saxes, keyboards and electronics
Johan Berthling – electric bass
Andreas Werliin – drums and electronics
Fire! Orchestra (since 2012)
Mats Gustafsson – baritone and slide sax, conduction
Johan Berthling – el bas
Andreas Werliin – drums
Mariam Wallentin – voice
Sofia Jernberg – voice
Anna Högberg – alto sax
Mette Rasmussen – alto sax
Lotte Anker – soprano and tenor sax
Jonas Kullhammar – braithophone, slide and bass sax
Goran Kajfes – cornet and slide trumpet
Niklas Barnö – trumpet
Mats Äleklint – trombone
Per-Åke Holmlander – tuba
Hild Sofie Tafjord – french horn
Andreas Berthling – electronics
Finn Loxbo – guitar
Julien Desprez – guitar
Martin Hederos – keyboards and violin
Mads Forsby – drums and electronics
Mikael Werliin – sound
Basically the whole creative music scene in Swedish and parts of the Danish and Norwegian – with help from both the Dutch, Australian and French scene has been joining the different versions of the Orchestra the past 3 years, including a.o. Loney Dear, Arno De Boer (The EX), Joe Williamson, Per Texas Johansson, Oren Ambarchi, Will Guthrie, Joachim Nordwall (iDEAL), Johan Holmegard(Dungen), Christer Bothén, Thomas Mera Gartz, Raymond Strid, Paal Nilssen– Love, Sten Sandell, Fredrik Ljungkvist, Elin Larsson, Simon Ohlsson (Silverbullit), Thomas Öberg (Bob Hund)….. they have all turned the Orchestra into what it is now and will be in the future!!!
The members of the Fire! Orchestra 2015 – share a background in as various groups and project such as:
Soundtrack of Our Lives, Tonbruket, Mariam the Believer, The Thing, Tape, Doglife, Nacka Forum, Goran Kajfes Subtronic Orchestra, Spunk, Acapulco, Swedish azz, Oddjob, Je suis, Fe- mail, Paavo, Pombo and many many others – combining jazz, free jazz, improvised music, rock, garage, psych, contemporary music and many other genres and subgenres…
please make up your own genre and mind – listen freely – don’t buy our labeling attempts…
This is only the beginning. Of sharing and creating… the mystery with and of the Fire! Orchestra!
And yes —- we are aware of certain musics, activities and doings by the Sun RA Arkestra, Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra, GL Unit, JCOA, Pierre Dörge New Jungle Orchestra, ICP Orchestra, Globe Unity Orchestra and related formations – we thank you all for inspiration!
FIRE! Orchestra 2014
Mariam Wallentin, Simon Ohlsson, Sofia Jernberg (voice), Niklas Barnö, Magnus Broo, Goran Kajfes, Emil Strandberg (trumpet), Mats Äleklint (trombone), Per Åke Holmlander (tuba), Anna Högberg (alto sax), Mats Gustafsson, Elin Larsson (tenor sax), Jonas Kullhammar (bass sax), Martin Küchen (baritone sax), Fredrik Ljungkvist (baritone sax, clarinet), Christer Bothe´n (bass clarinet, guimbri), Andreas Söderström, Sören Runolf, David Stackenäs (guitar), Sten Sandell (synthesizer and harmonium, piano), Martin Hederos, (organ, keyboards), Joachim Nordwall (electronics), Johan Berthling (el bass), Joel Grip, Dan Berglund (bass),Andreas Werliin, Johan Holmegard, Raymond Strid (drums)
PRESS FIRE! ORCHESTRA
FIRE! w Jim O’Rourke
FIRE! w Oren Ambarchi