Theater Tilters Vol.2 - Atomic

Jazzland Presents Volume 2 of this set of superb live recordings by the inimitable Atomic. Taken from Live recordings at Teater Lederman in Stockholm in October 2009, the recordings presented on "Theater Tilters" are fresh and vibrant, brimming over with the kind of energy and spontaneity that has made Atomic one of the key acoustic Jazz ensembles in Europe today. 

Compositional chores take a 60/40 split between Ljungkvist and Wiik respectively, but the album remains pure Atomic. 

"Roma", originally appearing in the studio album, Happy New Ears! plays the role of disc opener once again on Volume 2, melodically immediate, and featuring great solos from Fredrik, Magnus and Håvard, all the while underpinned by the near-telepathic rhythm section of Ingebrigt and Paal. 

"Sanguine" takes the music into a more relaxed zone, led by Magnus and Paal, and joined by the others at the halfway mark with a magnificent solo from Håvard. The piece continues with a Fredrik and Pall, echoing the earlier sub-duet between Magnus and Paal, except this time the gloves are off and it punches its way into the final ensemble motif. 

"Edit" has a more sedate feel, yet still retains that special kind of tension (if that is even the word for it) that all Atomic's music is embued with ... sometimes there is a suggestion of some lurking threat, at others that they could just leap into some variety of Roadrunner cartoon soundtrack. But Edit remains within a particular set of boundaries, feeding from the energy of the expectation it creates. 

"Two Boxes" has the same kind of manic energy found in Bop About: the theme is suitably off-the-wall, the instruments seem to be in literal dialogues. Ingebrigt is a major feature here, his skewed and screwball approach to the acoustic bass jumping in and out of the foreground, sometimes making sounds that would normally be considered beyond the instrument's range. Hot on his heels comes Paal, showing the kind of playing that could inspire the young to hit things for a living. Again, the magical forces that run through Atomic's veins bring them together for a beautifully crazy finale. 

"Barylite" follows Edit with the same kind of suggestion, but this time the underlying suggestion of inevitable action takes form in moments of group spontaneity and compositional unison. Even the most seasoned listener of Atomics music must still be surprised by their ability to seamless jump from moments of wild free jazz to perfect unison. Texturally dense, featuring a particulalry poignant solo from Magnus, Barylite is a perfect encapsulation of the Atomic ethos, covering ground from swing to free jazz to what can only be described as being as close to rock music as and acoustic jazz quintet can get. A perfect close to a perfect set. 

Atomic continue, unchained and energized as ever, to produce another classic album - a note-perfect capture of a band at the top of their game. Long may their combustible soundworld reign supreme!