The Swedish-Norwegian quintet Atomic has held a position at the forefront of the Scandinavian and European contemporary jazz scene for nearly 17 years. The band has the ability to delve ever more deeply into its own expressive idiom, and is still inquisitive, vital and full of energy. The new album “Six Easy Pieces” is the band’s 11th, and is the first on the ODIN label.
As on the preceding albums, Håvard Wiik and Fredrik Ljungkvist are responsible for all the compositions on the album – three each. Atomic has evolved into their own compositional laboratory. They both have a liking for sudden shifts, catchy melodies and increasingly high ambitions in their compositions in order to challenge both themselves and their fellow musicians. At the same time, their approaches to composition are very different. While Fredrik brings sketches to the band, and develops and adapts them together with the other musicians, Håvard provides more detailed scores, which still give space and freedom for the other musicians to explore.
Musically, Atomic covers as broad a spectrum as before in both stylistic and historical terms, and the contrast between the intricate compositions and the energy and freedom of the music has only intensified through the years. Nobody can combine jazz, improvisation and ideas from classical contemporary music in as spontaneous and memorable a way as Atomic. Naturally their musical interplay is perfectly integrated after 17 years, but the fact that they have also managed to keep their joy of playing together intact is both inspiring and a great pleasure for everyone who has ears to hear with.
“Six Easy Pieces” was recorded during a very inspired two-day session at Tonstudio 4Tune in Vienna in April 2016, with technician Martin Siewert. The first edition of the CD and the LP album are issued in deluxe versions, which include a double bonus CD featuring a live recording from Pit Inn in Tokyo from February 2016.