The Godforgottens – Never Forgotten Always Remembered (CF 164)
There are times when the cumulative effort of listening to CD after CD of music can bog the senses. It is enormously time consuming, enormously tedious at times, and frustrating on a number of levels. The point is, when something doesn’t stand out one way or another, when it sounds like 500 other CDs you’ve heard in the last year, what do you say about it?
Thankfully today’s CD does not have that problem. The Godforgottens’ “Never Forgotten, Always Remembered” (Clean Feed) does stand out from the pack. It’s a free improvisation distinguished by Paal Nilssen-Love’s anarchic everything-but-the-trashcan drumming insouciance, by Johan Berthling’s earthy, rumbling double bass, and perhaps most of all, the brazen excitement of Magnus Broo on trumpet and the keyboard work of Sten Sandell.
The beginning of the performance has a droning quality set off by Sandell’s Hammond B3 and Broo’s cosmically directed trumpet. The sound of the group here is much more than the ordinary free improv ensemble at work. They hover and drone around a pitch center with avant asides and somehow manage to invoke that eastward gazing “Universal Consciousness” sort of sound that Alice Coltrane created in her prime, but without directly referencing it.
The second section has a rough-and-tumble, head-over-heels quality that is abetted especially by Nilssen-Love’s cacophonous crashing and clashing of timbres and textures. The final section brings the B3 into the mix once again with drones and melodic sustains, and with some really rather bracing trumpet from Broo.
This is accessible avant garde music that does not run through the usual exercises of how to attain a group collectivity. It’s different and it’s very good.