Large Unit is Paal Nilssen-Love’s improvising ensemble, usually 8 or 9 people. Extra Large Unit swells the Large Unit’s membership to 27, most importantly including bowed string instruments and accordion. More Fun Please was composed and commissioned for Oslo Norway’s Only Connect festival in 2017.
More Fun Please opens with something that sounds like it could be from a 20th Century 12 tone piece, quickly segues into adventures in folk and drone, climaxes mid-way through with a large group improvisation, and slowly dwindles down to an accordion solo.
If there is anyone who has enthusiastically carried forward the technical aspects of Albert Ayler’s playing into the 21st Century, it is Mr Mats Gustafsson. “Again” is something like the 20th album from Gustafsson’s trio, with Paal Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, The Thing.
And, while Gustafsson’s playing sounds a bit like Ayler, The Thing doesn’t really feel like Ayler. There’s a sort of macho, athletic, gymnaticism, to The Thing’s playing, where Ayler was more spiritual, even when he was trying to be commercial.
So, if you need another The Thing album to add to your collection, or maybe you aren’t that familiar with them, “Again”, is a fine place to start for some invigorating free-ish jazz for your morning commute.
While I was aware of the individual members of this group, (Dave Remis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Paal Nilssen-Love,) I didn’t know, until I read about a recent East Coast Tour, that they had a group together. Saxophones, cello, percussion, and electronics.
This is improvised music of the squonk-ey, squeal-ey, and occasionally tender sort. Quite pleasant and invigorating. I was more than a little sad that my commute ended before the album did, but am looking forward to the listening to the remainder on my trip home.