A great logical step for fans of Colin Stetson. Christer Bothén builds micro worlds of percussive drones and pops through his reeds. Immersive headpone stuff where the silence is almost as important. Best known known for his work with Fire! Orchestra and collaborating with Don Cherry, this is a master at work.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 01 September 2016
Had to be me, apparently, did this review. Why? Because it’s drone with reeds, which is one thing half our office is tired of and another thing that half our office pruprots to hate: woodwind. I don’t know why you buy records from us, I really, just, don’t. But I digress from trying to incentivise you towards a purchase, so here it is: Don’t Blame Christer Bothén. His new record extends the logical hand to those of you enamoured with woodwind experiments, though don’t come into this with fastcore pal John Zorn or Constellation puffer Colin Stetson in mind -- rather, think Mats Gustaffson making unchanging tone drone, or Joe McPhee hurling items across his hard-floor studio while occasionally pushing against his tenor buttons.
The first side of this is a stark, whistling rumination that dispels the drone only with particular percussive gestures -- mostly they sound like they’re being slung onto the table, just made to remind us the record’s still playing, but an odd moment jumps out to move the suite a long, such as the long strand of rattling three fifths through, or the nearly-rhythmic industrial happenings that carry it out of existence. The reed work sounds surly, the tone rarely being raised beyond a regenerative snarl.
Occasional tracks show different types of avant excursion, with Bothen making his profession clear on the odd but rather gorgeous “Framkallning 1 & 2”, which develops gorgeous little scalings of the contrabass clarinet and the occasional little blustery temper tantrum of dissonance as per the aforementioned Colin Stetson, who, sure -- compare him to this one. To those already immersed in how these instruments can be extracted from their original art worlds, this’ll actually sound pretty nice -- to those just coming at it, prepare to have your minds blown. By blowing.
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