Personnel: Jim O'Rourke (electric guitar, harmonica, synthesizer); Johan Berthling (electric guitar, electric bass); Mats Gustafsson (saxophone, baritone saxophone, Fender Rhodes piano, electronics); Andreas Werliin (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: H?kan ?kesson.
Recording information: Superdeluxe, Tokyo (09/12/2010-09/13/2010).
Unreleased? is at least two wonderful things: a volcanic second album from the Swedish improv super-trio Fire! as well as an increasingly rare bit of semi-inside music from guest guitarist Jim O'Rourke. That's not to say that the album's four long tracks are predictable, conform to any structures, or might be accessible to people not predisposed to liking improvised music. But with each track, the quartet -- which includes avant journeyman Mats Gustafsson on saxophone, electronics, and Rhodes -- digs in with a patient, hypnotic logic, losing itself in a collective bliss-groove, sometimes driven by deep, fusiony pockets from drummer Andreas Werlin (of Wildbirds & Peacedrums) and bassist Johan Berthling, as on "...Please, I Am Released," but just as often by Gustafsson and O'Rourke's sheets of noise. The musicians ride the waves slowly, roles changing with the music's colors. For O'Rourke, the elegant and dramatic improv swells mark a delightfully straightforward turn from his increasingly obscure musical pursuits since his expatriation to Japan, give or take his excellent Burt Bacharach tribute, All Kinds of People Love Burt Bacharach. Often, the assembled are content to let the bliss-groove dissolve entirely to bliss, as in the short, negative-space pulse waves of "By Whom and Why Am I Previously Unreleased?" (with O'Rourke on harmonica) or the five-minute drone-out prelude to "Happy Ending Borrowing Yours." When the groove is ready to appear again, it does, Werlin unfolding a seemingly stray cymbal splash to a new conclusion. A worthwhile session. ~ Jesse Jarnow
Mojo (Publisher) (p.97) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Their lowering rumble traces an elliptical path through jazz-not-jazz and concrete psych..."