THE THING ‘SHAKE’ – TTR005
Two years after their THE THING RECORDS label-debut with the legendary BOOT album, the Scandinavian freejazz vikings release another heavy and wonderful monster of a studio-album, produced by Johan Bertling! Intense, passionate and accurately defined, they clearly mark their own genre within a genre!
The Wire about SHAKE
The Quietus about SHAKE
The Thing’s Shake might not quite offer the immediate pleasures of their great Neneh Cherry collaboration or their classic Lightning Bolt cover but it’s another beezer of an album from the Scandinavian trio – perhaps their finest to date. There’s always the worry that their punk-jazz shtick could become a stale gimmick, but Mats Gustaffson, Ingebrit Haker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love have a knack of bringing the noise every time. The sheer energy and physicality of The Thing’s sound is immensely satisfying, fusing the freedom of jazz with the controlled power of rock. When more mainstream jazzers cover rock songs, they tend to work from the melody and chord sequence, an approach that can sound a little glib and underpowered. The Thing, on the other hand, rightly focus on the riff, using it as the basis for improvisation.
Shake has only two rock covers: a super heavy take on Loop’s ‘The Nail Will Burn’ and the more reflective ‘Siggil’ by Wyrd Visions. The latter is by Toronto-based Colin Berg’s imagined Nordic free-folk outfit. These actual Scandinavians clearly approve, turning it into a candlelit psych-jazz invocation, with Gustafsson prowling menacingly over ritualistic gongs and a hypnotic bass-line that joins the dots between acid rock and Alice Coltrane. Nilssen-Love’s ‘Fra Jord Er Du Kommet’ goes deeper still into the ritual, with slow-burning saxophone drones and resonant metals. An odd waltz-like melody emerges, conjuring images of trolls dancing under the moon.