Exposé Online banner

Mats / Morgan — [schack tati]
(Cuneiform Rune 385, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-09-29

[schack tati] Cover artOne recurring trope of martial arts movies is the transcendent master who has skills beyond those of normal mortals, capabilities that defy gravity and reason. Leaping buildings, executing maneuvers while balanced on the tip of a pole, running on the surface of a lake, moving faster than bullets in flight — whatever the fight choreographers can dream up and the special effects crew can pull off. Morgan Ågren and Mats Öberg are like that with music. Listening to [schack tati] is like watching a fight scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, or better yet, The Matrix. It's pretty darn amazing, and beautiful, but it just doesn't seem real. I suppose on some level, you could say it isn't real, at least not in the sense of being played live by real musicians — it is carefully constructed music built in a studio, aiming for amazing sounds outside the constraints of what hands and fingers can do. As their live recordings attest, these guys are astoundingly adept, but they also take advantage of the full capabilities of a modern studio (in this case, the one Ågren has built in a shed on his property). Guests, including Simon Steensland, provide some added sounds, but it is primarily Mats and Morgan overdubbing, tweaking, and assembling sounds. A couple of tracks feature only Ågren, on various instruments and programming; another features Ågren and guests without Öberg. Their background as Zappa proteges is apparent, but their attention wanders throughout our world of music, borrowing freely and modifying in wildly creative ways. All in all, this is an astounding journey, full of amazing and amusing sounds, another chapter in the fantastic journey of these magical Swedes.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Morgan Ågren, Simon Steensland, Mats / Morgan Band

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Underground Railroad - The Origin of Consciousness – I found the Underground Railroad’s debut CD to be an uneven affair. Some parts were very good, others less interesting, and in general, the band seemed to be in search of a direction. With their...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues