Simon Steensland — Fat Again
(AltrOck Productions ALT007, 2009, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01Steensland's is a musical world of sharp edges, intense contrasts, brutal aggression and mysterious beauty all served up in an expressive way that is both challenging and engaging. This makes around six or seven releases over a sixteen-or-so year period, following earlier classics like The Zombie Hunter and Led Circus, and taking its rightful place alongside them. I suppose the twisted mix of sounds and styles in play here fits the general descriptive "Avant-Rock," with some strong folk and 20th Century classical elements simmering at or just below the surface. While this is still essentially instrumental music, what makes Fat Again different from those that preceded it are the use of voices in the mix of instrumentation on many of the album's ten cuts, in some cases as many as eight vocalists are used, track depending. This, combined with the heavy bass attacks and structural repetition might make the listener recall some elements of Magma, but Steensland has definitely created his own monster here, and a fierce one it is. On most of the cuts, SS delivers all the instrumentation (bass, keys, guitars, harmonium, cello, glockenspiel, etc.) with the exception of the drums, contributed by none other than Morgan Ågren; on the sidelong opening and closing cuts, both rock-intensive numbers, he is joined by a number of other musicians. All taken, those who enjoyed SS's previous releases, as well as bands like Present, Univers Zero, and others in that vein will find much of interest herein.
Related artist(s): Simon Steensland
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more