Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Electric MZ - Silent in the Murmur

Straight out of Eskilstuna, Sweden this is a kind of allstar band consisting of the citys finest musicians that has been active on the local scene for decades. I have had the privilege to been able to follow most of them closely for the past 10 years in different bands and formations and know what these cats are able to do with their instruments. The scene for experimental improvisational music, alternative rock and jazz in the city of Eskilstuna is quite unique for a city of that size in Sweden. It’s all based around a small group of people who for many years now have arranged concerts and festivals promoting this kind of music for a growing crowd. Loads of bands have been formed within this community often borrowing members from each other. 

This has resulted in a fertile environment for great music. And The Electric MZ is a logical consequence of this. The band is the brainchild of Stefan Wistrand who is one of the veterans on the scene and a true visionary both as a musician and as a promoter. He started out playing the saxophone back in the 70s and has mainly done free jazz stuff in different bands. A few years ago he wanted to put together a band that summarized all the stuff he has done over the years with members from other bands that he had worked closely with over the years. Here you will find David Lindh, guitar, Johannes Rytzler, keyboards, Mattias Green, bass & flugelhorn, Peter Olsen, drums, Johan Carlsson, drums & percussion. The Electric MZ is built upon young and old musicians that has come together to create something that has its roots clearly visible but aims to tread onto new paths for both jazz and rock. 

The debut album “Silent in the Murmur” released on Einnicken Records is a collection of four tracks that relies on the groove. First track called “Zone” starts off with a heavy electronic base that sets of the percussions of Peter Olsen and Johan Carlsson that builds up to the release of the horns curtesy of Wistrand. He has a nice vibe of both Coltrane and Miles in his tone that makes it easy to listen to but always challenges the listener’s ears.

Second track “Coasting Along” again builds on the groove. Here Rytzler's Fender-Rhoads makes out the glimmering surroundings in the soundscape with Wistrand and Green handling the horns in the most beautiful way. Moving along into the heavy drums of “Quarter past one” witch has a melody that immediately glues itself to your eardrums. On this one you also get a fine example of the guitar works of David Lindh that has a jazzy and progressive style that sometimes reminds me of Frank Zappa's strings. And in the finale on this quartet of tunes, “Alley Seventy-Five”, we are sent off into a dreamlike state of mind as Wistrand's clarinet floats around in the universe of Rytlzler's keyboards. The perfect ending. 

So where does this leave us? Well you want more of course. And hopefully this is not the last we’ll hear from The Electric MZ but you’ll never know. There might as well be six new bands spawned out of this one knowing what the members are capable of. Hopefully we will get to hear all of them in the future. But I have a good sense of that The Electric MZ is not done in any way. Until we know for sure lets enjoy “Silent in the Murmur” and stand in its shining light getting embraced by its warmth and love.
- The Void

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