Boomkat Product Review:
Mats Gustafsson (The Thing), Johan Berthling (Tape) and drummer Andreas Werliin (Wildbirds & Peacebirds) follow that mighty Oren Ambarchi hook-up by working with an ambitious 28-piece ensemble drawn from Swedish jazz, improv and avant rock echelons. The Fire! Orchestra comprises at least three guitarists, four bassists, four drummers, brass, woodwind, a trio of vocalists, plus electronics and keys - basically a proper free jazz big band in the lineage of Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra, Centipede, Sun Ra, to play a striking, refreshingly modern take on that sound, balancing lucid electro-acoustics and refined minimalism with stunning post-rock crescendos, and loosely defined jazz strategy. Recorded at the HQ of Fylkingen, Stockholm's legendary avant garde music centre, 'Exit!' manifests two extended pieces breaking down to kaleidoscopic elements over the course of each part, whether its soaring vocals powered by krautrock rhythms and squally blow-outs or icy, desolate vocals rendered in widescreen electro-acoustics seceding to slamming garage punk dynamics and the sort of extended vocal techniques associated with Maja Ratkje, thanks to Mariam Wallentin and Sofia Jernberg. We safely say it's a successful accomplishment, and yet another example of Fire!'s incredible shape-shifting abilities and stylistic freedom.