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

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Robert Rich & Ian Boddy - React – Space is the place for this live set – marking the 30th anniversary of Chuck van Zyl’s Star’s End. Synthesized voices overlap lap steel guitar phrases that sometimes float, sometimes...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues