Fire! Orchestra are of course the mutated super-version of the mighty Fire! trio, adding up to 21 members on this record. The title Ritual is about right, with this many (mostly Swedish) major musicians grouped together to summon up energetic, elemental power. Heavy and ecstatic, there aren’t many other groups comparable to this one.
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The Fire! Orchestra is what happens when you try to arrange an end-of-year office party but you’re an avant-garde/free-jazz hybrid label, so everything goes to shit. Having briefly composed themselves for the senior staff meeting with ‘She Sleeps, She Sleeps’ -- a collaboration/discussion of who to fire (lmao) between Johan Behrling, Mats Gustaffson and Andreas Werliin, they now book a full table for their thousands and thousands of staff. To be precise, there are twenty-one of our Fire! Players on ‘Ritual’, and I’m happy to announce they made an awful mess.
‘Ritual’ might rest easier on the ears, at times, than the glorious chaos of twin free monsters ‘Enter’ and ‘Exit’, with the first part of our centrepiece tune offering up a rather lovely motif to loop around your head -- lots of horns coalescing around a beat that sounds like a giant piece of heavy machinery bursting with steam. It twists into a lovely vocal narrative that goes solo and gets harmonies and has our brass crew brewing a storm, hitting their note, letting it fade away, growing it back again. There’s some dissonance among the parts of this suite, there’s some purposeful disorganisation, but this piece is an invigorating and multi-faceted work of climaxes you can feel.
It’s amazing how much depth Rune Grammofon’s banner jazz outfit have covered in a number of records with extremely different make-ups -- ‘She Sleeps’ might have been a plaintive, fading record of small ideas, but this one bursts from the seams with its members’ energy. I would shake all their hands but it'd take me eight hours.
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- Ritual by Fire! Orchestra
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