MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2008
Atomic - Retrograde - Review by John Kelman @ All About Jazz
Plenty has been written about the intersection - past and present - between members of the Swedish/Norwegian collective Atomic, and Chicago's Ken Vandermark's countless projects. Most telling, perhaps, is this simple fact: were Atomic American-based, there's little doubt it would garner similar accolades from a considerably larger audience unafraid of the kind of fearless experimentation that's been the quintet's signature since convening around the turn of the millennium. Retrograde is the group's fifth release and second three-CD set, following its all-live The Bikini Tapes (Jazzland, 2005). With two discs of new studio material and a very recent (June 2008) live set from Seattle, Atomic continues to mine its unique meeting place of American-centric free jazz, Scandinavian melodies and a personal approach to composition-cued spontaneity.
Despite the majority of writing penned by reedman Fredrik Ljungkvist and pianist Havard Wiik - whose trio disc, The Arcades Project (Jazzland, 2007), is another fine example ...full
posted by NUCLEAR ADMIN October 27, 2008 20:00
THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2002
Atomic - Feet Music - Review by John Eyles @ All About Jazz
Named after an Ornette composition, Feet Music is the debut album from Atomic , and is the exception to the Jazzland rule in that it lacks the distinctive beats and rhythms of Oslo Nu-jazz. (Maybe this is why it is released on the Jazzland Acoustic imprint.) Atomic are an acoustic quintet with a classic sax/trumpet/rhythm-section line-up and no added frills, yet their music is completely at home on Jazzland, having the energy and air of challenge that is the house style.
It is easier to define their music by what it isn't rather than by what it is. It isn't "European" if one interprets that adjective as synonymous with cool, ECM-style detachment. (Yet it is unmistakably European in its openness and willingness to question accepted norms.) It isn't free jazz, despite the nod to Ornette. (However, it exists because free jazz happened, and it draws upon it. If one were to ...full
posted by NUCLEAR ADMIN April 11, 2002 19:00
WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2006
Atomic - Happy New Ears! - Review by Eyal Hareuveni @ All About Jazz
The Swedish-Norwegian quintet Atomic was founded five years ago as an antithesis to the "frosty tundra bite of ECM lyricism," as Atomic's label, Jazzland, describes Atomic's raison d'etre. But things seem to have changed on this, their third studio recording, Happy New Ears!, (not including a Ken Vandermark collaboration, Nuclear Assembly Hall, Okka Disk, 2004).
The members of Atomic - Swedish/Stockholm-based reed player Fredrik Ljungkvist and trumpeter Magnus Broo; and Norwegian/Oslo-based pianist Havard Wiik, bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love - sound as if they have begun to embrace some of the ECM ethos, but in a way that challenges accepted conventions about Scandinavian jazz. The members of Atomic are well aware of the fiery American free jazz tradition, but at the same time it derives its identity from more complex and chilly European stylings, or as Vandermark, who hosts all the band's members in his many outfits, defined ...full
posted by NUCLEAR ADMIN July 26, 2006 19:00
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2005
Atomic - The Bikini Tapes - Review by Eyal Hareuveni @ All About Jazz
The Norwegian-Swedish quintet Atomic may be considered the Scandinavian equivalent of Chicago's Vandermark 5. Atomic's compositions, like Ken Vandermark's, are loaded with clever references to the history of modern and free jazz, and both groups' players know how to integrate these influences without losing their original voices. The architecture of the compositions is very tight, with well written and complex ensemble passages, but at the same time they are very fluid, flowing with exciting rhythmic energy.
Ken Vandermark has already recognized Atomic's qualities and enlisted its players to join his various ensembles. Swedish trumpet player Magnus Broo recently joined Peter Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet; fellow Swedish reed player Fredrik Ljungkvist is a member of Vandermark's Territory Band; Norwegian bass player Ingebright Håker Flaten recorded with Vandermark in the now-defunct School Days, and together with Norwegian pianist Håvard Wiik joined Vandermark to form the trio Free Fall. Norwegian drummer Paal-Nilssen Love is one ...full
posted by NUCLEAR ADMIN September 23, 2005 19:00
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2004
Atomic - Boom Boom - Review by Colin Buttimer
Boom Boom is the second release from Atomic, a five-piece acoustic outfit from Norway. The cd comes in a rather lovely cardboard digipak in typical Jazzland style with liner notes by Ken Vandermark. ‘Toner Frän För’ begins proceedings with wistful unison line lamentations which frequently pause for delicate, delicious percussion interludes from Nilssen-Love. There’s something of the spirit of Miles Davis’s Nefertiti in the piece, but with a less steely and warmer heart. The title track picks up the pace and is driven along by galloping, hypnotic bass and piano allied to some formidable drumming. There’s a hint of the east about the music – if the Leningrad Cowboys played jazz this might be what they’d sound like. Magnus Broo’s mercurial trumpet solo raises the pressure to such an extent that it seems like there might be an explosion. ‘Praeladium’ explores Paul Hindemith’s melody at length with trumpet, sax and ...full
posted by NUCLEAR ADMIN February 29, 2004 19:00