Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Mats Gustafsson & Yoshimi
Words On The Floor

Smalltown Superjazz STSJ-114


Duo set from eviscerating European free-punk saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Yoshimi of The Boredoms with a great avant-prog feel that is somewhere between Joan La Barbara, Univers Zero, Jeanne Lee/Jimmy Lyons and those early Amy Sheffer discs. Which means it works a whole other form of subtle magic than you might expect from the previous lung-feats of these too. Not to say that at points they don't tear each other heads off and dribble down their throats. It's just that between there and here there's a whole lot of evocative mystery that is pitched towards the more liminal vectors of your brain, resulting in long passages of sustained, barely-there eeriness. Which is more than great. Gustafsson plays slide sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, alto fluteophone and electronics, Yoshimi plays voice and electronics.

Tarfala Trio

NoBusiness Records NBLP-35/36

2xLP + 7”

Excellent live set, stunningly rendered, from the trio of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Raymond Strid. Tarfala formed in 1992 after a meeting at the Solo-92 Festival in Sweden. There have been two CDs so far on the Maya Recordings label but this deluxe 2xLP gatefold set with a bonus 7” and a large glossy booklet represents their first vinyl outing. This is classic high-energy free jazz, with Guy’s playing serving to drill them an elemental foundation deep into the earth, anchoring furious string navigations with massively heavy bottom end bombs that Strid knocks around all over the place, shepherding them into weird time fluxes that somehow combine static detail with constant movement. Gustafsson is, of course, one of the premier deconstructive thinkers on the saxophone but here his playing feels more focussed on classic free jazz grace and power, matching Peter Brotzmann in terms of lyrical fury and radical invention. Edition of 600 copies. Recommended. 

Cafe OTO/London

Trost TR-108


Beautifully rendered live recording of the world-beating trio of saxophonists Peter Brotzmann, Mats Gustafsson and Ken Vandermark captured by the BBC’s Jazz On 3 for radio broadcast at London’s Cafe OTO in April of 2011. The absence of drums give the music a spectacular hymnal/gospel quality, with three horns testifying in fast, chirruping waves underlined by hypnotic, ululating drones and delicate asides. Indeed, the most striking aspect of the recording is the lightness of touch. You would think with a trio of conceptualists this weighty that the set would be more about monolithic force but there are long passages of beautiful, fluttering blues that seem to have as much to do with Jimmy Giuffre – or even Chet Baker/Terry Riley – as it does to post-FMP wildmanisms. All three players interact with a profound feel for the unravelling of compositions, laying down a slow-moving counterpoint that allows the horns to pirouette higher and higher, circling in bird-like hypnotics and carving spectacularly dramatic arcs of martial melody. A phenomenal set. 180g vinyl, edition of 500 copies.

Mats Gustafsson

Utech URLP-072


Stunning new LP/CD set from free European saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, dedicated to the memory of his late mentor the saxophonist Bengt Nordstrom: Nordstrom is best known for producing Albert Ayler’s first recording, Something Different!!!!!!, and he was also a talented saxophonist, playing solo free improvised saxophone as early as 1962.  For Bengt, Gustafsson moves to a plastic Grafton alto sax, the same one favoured by Nordstrom, making this a unique entry in his back catalogue. The sound is breathy, muted, with a soft muffled tone that sounds at points like Frank Lowe or Marion Brown and Gustafsson’s playing is oddly lyrical, ripping through staggered scales and sounding single note fanfares in a way that is utterly compulsive. The rigour is still there, the deconstructive vision, but this one feels somehow more affirmative, a classic solo record in the mode of Braxton’s For Alto and Kaoru Abe’s Live At Gaya series. On white vinyl in an edition of 500 copies with a bonus CD edition of the album bundled alongside it. Highly recommended!

Correction with Mats Gustafsson

NoBusiness Records NBLP-59


Vinyl only studio album with baritone saxophonist Mats Gustafsson paired with ‘assaultive’ piano trio Correction: Correction are pianist Sebastian Bergstrom, bassist Joacim Nyberg and drummer Emil Astrand-Melin and they take the format and extrapolate wildly, playing a form of taught trio-thought that bridges continuous flowing sound-forms with moments of pure blat. Gustafsson takes the opportunity to really get inside the music, playing with a rude, abrasive tone here and sliding sensuous body sounds and sex calls there. At points he sounds like he’s turning the music inside out, so lascivious is his focus and intent. There’s a Brotzmann-esque appeal to the music in the way that it marries furious discourse and scalding tonal improvisation with an umbilical that runs deep into the tradition and it’s nothing short of blast to hear the way the players keep pushing and pulling, forwards and backwards, straining at the form while sounding out its possibilities. Edition of 500 copies. Recommended.

Only The Devil Has No Dreams

Jazzwerkstatt 013


Massive trio set from three of the heaviest modern reedists: Peter Brotzmann, Mats Gustafsson and Ken Vandermark: recorded live in Berlin in 2007, the set sees Brotzmann on tenor and alto sax as well as tarogato and b-flat clarinet, Gustafsson on baritone sax, fluteophone and slide-sax and Vandermark on tenor sax, baritone and b-flat clarinet. The music is oddly affecting, with the lack of any accompanying rhythm instruments giving it a loose, organic feel and an odd orchestral grandeur. Brotzmann plays with that mile-wide vibrato that became so distinctive later in his life and his soloing is particularly beautiful here, recalling the pained blues of Never Too Late But Always Too Early. Gustafsson and Vandermark are super inventive, and at points they push the music into a weird almost-Moondog style avant classical realm. But when the three players are blasting on all cylinders it feels like the heavy metal hallelujah choir blowing open the gates of heaven. Packaged with the jewel case inside a card slipcase, this is a beauty, recommended!

Mats Gustafsson & Thurston Moore
Vi Ar Alla Guds Slavar

Otoroku ROKU-07


Killer live set from Thurston and Mats in an edition of 1000 copies: recorded live at London’s Cafe Oto, Vi Ar Alla... takes of where Thurston’s signal recording with Don Dietrich and Jim Sauter, Barefoot In The Head, left off, with Mats using reeds and electronics to demolish Thurston’s wild, bass heavy divebombs. Indeed, the pair get into some major gravity-defying/gridlocked drone work, with the sound of overloaded amplifiers and air raid tones giving way to long passages of lyrical feedback and levitating horns. On 180g vinyl.