Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mats Gustafsson – a short glimpse at his recording history

(Photo: Cato Lein)
Just prior to the honouring of Mats Gustafsson by the Nordic Council June 1st, I published an interview I did back in 2004 on The Evil City Blog. Here’s a short dive into some of his recordings for those who are not already familiar with his catalogue. I have obviously not heard all his recorded works, but I have tried to expose several aspects of his output from different periods in his recording career.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Can Kristian Blak win the Nordic Council Music Prize?


Photo: kristianblak.com

The versatile Dane Kristian Blak, resident in the Faroe Islands since 1974, was also nominated in 1998 for the amazing album “Brøytingar”, which he first released with the band Yggdrasil and artist Ole Wich in 1988. Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin won the prize back then. But the open minded mix of nature inspired jazz, folk and “out there” compositions and improvisations, merged with pre-recorded sound bits, suggested, through the magic title cut, the wave of freak folk and neo-psychedelia of artists like Devendra Banhart and “Sung Tongs”-era Animal Collective 15 years later.

Listen to the title cut Brøytingar at Spotify.

Mats Gustafsson: - Energy is the most important parameter in my music


Photo: matsgust.com

This interview was first published at the groove.no website June 2004. It was translated by myself and published again in this blog in relation to his nomination to the Nordic Council Music Prize 2011. Other articles related to the 2011 nominations at the Evil City Blog: Kristian Blak/Lotte Anker. More information on Gustafsson on this page. His own website is available at this link.

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At Kongsberg Jazz Festival this summer Mats Gustafsson will improvise with Joe McPhee at the Avant Garden venue. Gustafsson is also part of free jazz trio The Thing who share bass player Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love with Atomic.

The Thing debuted in 2000 with material mainly consisting of interpretations of Don Cherry songs. This year The Thing will release their fourth album, dubbed “Garage”, where the trio interpret new and old garage rock songs by bands such as The Sonics, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The White Stripes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cassiopeian Psychonauts - Motorpsycho exposed, part IV

Read the introduction to the Motorpsycho exposed article series here.



In May 2010 I followed Motorpsycho from Berlin to Bremen on the "Heavy Metal Fruit Tour", which resulted in a series of articles in the web magazine Ballade.no. This article is available for Norwegian readers in its original context here. Thanks to Hugh Small and Kristin Waag for proof-reading and corrections.


Read the other articles in Motorpsycho exposed:
Part I: Dogma 2000
Part II: A Norwegian Post-Hippie Bohemia
Part III: Motorpsychedelic Wanderlust


Cassiopeian Psychonauts

Motorpsycho has embarked on a European tour that brings the band to Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy. But they do not travel alone. As usual, the band is followed by a van full of fans of the most enthusiastic and faithful type called Psychonauts. 


- Psychonaut is a term for an inward traveller. It fits the psychedelic quality of the band, says Alexander Schulze.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Motorpsychedelic Wanderlust – Motorpsycho exposed, part III

Read the introduction to the Motorpsycho exposed article series here.




After the release of "Heavy Metal Fruit" on label Rune Grammofon in January 2010, Motorpsycho experienced a series of rave reviews in Norway from jazz to metal magazines and tabloid newspapers as well as in the serious daily press.


In May 2010 I followed Motorpsycho from Berlin to Bremen on the "Heavy Metal Fruit Tour", which resulted in a series of articles in the web magazine Ballade.no. This article was published in two parts, and are available for Norwegian readers in the original context here and here. Thanks to Hugh Small and Kristin Waag for proof-reading and corrections. 


Read the other articles in Motorpsycho exposed:
Part I: Dogma 2000
Part II: A Norwegian Post-Hippie Bohemia
Part IV: Cassiopeian Psychonauts


Motorpsychedelic Wanderlust - from Bjugn to Roma


Die Uhren in Trondheim ticken anders – the clocks in Trondheim do not tick like in other places, Mannheimer Morgenpost states in a review of a Motorpsycho concert in Heidelberg. 

The newspaper does not only point to the abnormally long concerts the band plays in Germany, they last well over two hours, but also to the breadth of expression. The review concludes that Norway has to be one of the leading export nations in music today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Norwegian Post-Hippie Bohemia - Motorpsycho exposed, part II

Read the introduction to the Motorpsycho exposed article series here.


The last ten years there has not been written much about Svartlamoen, the quarter in the city of Trondheim where Motorpsycho in many ways originated from. With the release of "Heavy Metal Fruit" I found it timely to visit the part of town when Motorpsycho returned to play "on home turf" at the Verkstedhallen venue with experimental trio Supersilent. 

What is the state of Svartlamoen, and where is Motorpsycho heading, after 20 years as powerhouses in Norwegian alternative culture?

The article was originally published March 2010 in Ballade.no. Norwegian readers can read the article in its original context here. Thanks to Hugh Small and Kristin Waag for proof-reading and corrections.


It is worth to mention that the UFFA house was severely damaged in a fire the 29th of december 2010, after this article was written.

Other articles in the Motorpsycho-exposed series:
Part I: Dogma 2000

A Norwegian Post-Hippie Bohemia

After 20 years Motorpsycho enjoys the same respect on the alternative scene the band sprang out from, as in the established music business. Ballade went to Svartlamoen in Trondheim to visit the band at home and find out how it has handled expanding without becoming a sell out.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dogma 2000 - Motorpsycho exposed, part I

Read the introduction to the Motorpsycho exposed article series here.




Last time Motorpsycho went through a lasting change in aesthetics was in 2000 with ”Let Them Eat Cake”. The album signalled the beginning of the band's pop jazz period which saw Motorpsycho gain a wider audience with records like ”Phanerothyme” (2001) and ”It’s a Love Cult” (2002), which faded away again after tour exhaustion, creative crisis, recess, and the departure of drummer Håkon Gebhardt in 2005.

At the time of the release of ”Let Them Eat Cake” in 2000, I did an interview with the band at the Savoy Hotel in Oslo for the Norwegian magazine Audio that digs into the band's thoughts on the landscape they were heading into at that time. It is re-presented here, on the Evil City Blog, in a translated and slightly edited version. Thanks to Hugh Small and Kristin Waag for proof-reading and corrections.


Read the other articles in the Motorpsycho exposed-series:
Part II: A Norwegian Post-Hippie Bohemia
Part III: Motorpsychedelic Wanderlust - from Bjugn to Roma
Part IV: Cassiopeian Psychonauts

Dogma 2000


Since the early nineties, Bent Sæther (bass, vocals), Håkon Gebhardt (drums, banjo) and Hans Magnus Ryan (guitars, vocals) have used the power trio format to explore ideas deeply rooted in classic rock music. On ”Let Them Eat Cake”, their newly released record, they again show versatility and variation, but while musical influences in the recent past have been The Stooges and noisy science fiction, you’ll need other references today; maybe The Allman Brothers Band and free jazz will do?

Motorpsycho - the improvising rock band - exposed, introduction

April 8th 2010 labels Rune Grammofon (Norway) and Stickman Records (Europe) released ”Intrepid Skronk” which is the fourth rendition in the Roadwork live album series of Motorpsycho. The double vinyl album features live cuts from 2008 – 2010, a period in which newcomer, drummer Kenneth Kapstad, has contributed to create a significant stylistic shift to a more progressive and space rock oriented sound.

As a build up to the release The Evil City Blog published four of the articles I’ve done on the improvising rock band up through the years, translated to English by myself. Thanks to Hugh Small and Kristin Waag for proof-reading and corrections.

The Motorpsycho exposed-articles:
Part I: Dogma 2000