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Fire - She Sleeps, She Sleeps

  by Keith How

published: 7 / 3 / 2016

Fire - She Sleeps, She Sleeps
Label: Rune Grammofon
Format: CD


Compelling and inflammatory fifth album from Scandinavian jazz terrorists, Fire

Fire’s new release sits firmly in the corner marked “Free Form Jazz” and yet while containing all the elements of, say, Pharoah Sanders early 70’s meanderings and explorations in the past, there is a certain sense of restraint and modernity that brings a sense of order to proceedings found on 'She Sleeps She Sleeps'. Opening with 'She Owned His Voice', we are greeted by what seems like a Monastic call to prayer. Double bass and percussion (which are outstanding throughout the offering) weave a quiet rhythm before the saxophone enters the fray like a lost ring wraith moaning and gasping for air as the track intensifies. Berthling’s bass is busy providing the perfect foil for the percussion that is buzzing away before the opening motif fades out. Title track 'She Sleeps' at thirteen minutes plus is a sprawling almost psychedelic journey into a lost territory where Mats Gustafsson seems to channel a banshee from another dimension. Beginning with a meditative opening that slopes along harmoniously, the rhythm section holds the piece in perfect tension. There is a definite dark and brooding atmosphere evoked by the sax and guest Oren Ambarchi’s guitar work. As the track progresses, you find yourself being slowly sucked into the dark waters. An occasional prayer bell rings as the music fades. It is intense stuff. “She Bid a Meaningful Farewell', the shortest composition, gives Johan Berthling the opportunity to rattle round his drum kit before the band join him with a metronomic pulse. Once again Gustafsson is in his element but this time showing a softer more melodic side. The track comes to an abrupt end (as per the title I guess), but there is nothing meaningless here. The four track album is completed by 'She Penetrates the Distant Silence Slowly', yet another lengthy offering of about eighteen minutes. Introduced by plucked bass strings that rattle the ornaments on the mantelpiece, we are then led into a minimal groove that provides a backdrop for Gustafsson to wail and howl in what appears to be increasing desperation. Rattles and bells shake in the background as if the ghost of Dr John is conjuring up some good medicine and the beat goes on. The dark noir feel that seeps through the whole album is all encompassing as the band head off completely enveloped in the brooding mists of their own construction. 'She Sleeps She Sleeps' is almost an album of prayer. Listening again I found myself interpreting these compositions as mantras for a world in distress. Letting the music enfold me and envelop me revealed some very meaningful moments. This is a fine record, compelling and thoroughly modern but not to be approached lightly.

Track Listing:-
1 She Owned His Voice
2 She Sleeps, She Sleeps
3 She Bid A Meaningless Farewell
4 She Penetrates The Distant Silence. Slowly

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