Carla Bley and I remember with great intensity a night in San Francisco, in 1968, when we witnessed the loudest music we’d ever heard. It happened at a venue called The Filmore, and the band responsible for the colossal noise was Cream: Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. They played very well, and this wasn’t lost on us, but what we recall most vividly is the shocking shift in scale music at such volume generated, and the recalibration of our senses that shift provoked
We were reminded of that night when we first heard Sthlm Svaga. It’s a mystery that improvisers have ignored the opposite extreme - to play as softly as possible but here you have it, and it is no less shocking.
The psychological effect of Sthlm Svaga’s music is a delight: first there’s disorientation but then there’s reorientation as you hear that there is paradoxically, great power in reticence.
This is something martial arts masters have long known, and musicians of various sorts, from Morton Feldman to Joao Gilberto, have known about it too, but Sthlm Svaga brings this powerful force to jazz, where it hasn’t been before. A corner is turned within the music - the softer the band plays, the more force it generates. As near-silence exerts its powerful effect on the musicians they play less, and what they play assumes startling prominence. A well-placed note speaks volumes.
This music requires intense focus. You’ll need to lean into it, to pay heightened attention. But it simultaneously gives as it makes its demands, offering a trip into a world you haven’t known before, a world of small things made large by a simple but profound shift in perception.
Graffiti painting by Finn 'Maes' Öhlund
1. Tålamod (26:33) by Johan Jutterström
2. Bells & whistles (10:51) by Carla Bley
3. Triple tropical Bull (to Carla Bley) (17:03) by Rasmus Borg
Linda Oláh: Voice / Niklas Barnö: Trumpet / Gustav Rådström: Altsax Johan Jutterström: Tenorsax / Rasmus Borg: Piano / Elsa Bergman: Bass Andreas Hiroui Larsson: Drums
Recorded at Bergastudion, Åkersberga on July 2nd and 3rd, 2019 by Petter Hölaas, Patric Thorman and Åke Nimrell. Mixed by Petter Hölaas and Patric Thorman at Intelligent Sound, Kungsängen. Mastered by Jon Fält. Artwork and executive production by Patric Thorman. The grafitti painting on the album cover was made by Finn “Maes” Öhlund, one night around the year 2000 in the area of Uppsala, Sweden. Inner sleeve photos by Elsa Bergman and Eva Vik. Thanks to Petter, Jon, Åke, and Eva. Special thanks to Carla Bley and Steve Swallow for your inspiration and commitment in this project. Produced by Johan Jutterström and Patric Thorman. This album was funded in part by the Swedish Arts Council. The composition “Bells and whistles” was commissioned from Carla Bley by STHLM Svaga with support from the Swedish Arts Council.
FYRO42LP. C+P 2020 Found You Recordings. All rights reserved
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