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Mats/Morgan Band: Thanks For Flying With Us

Mats Oberg is the keyboardist, Morgan Ägren is the drummer, and this is their band. Both were musical prodigies as very young children, and further down the line they formed a Zappa cover band and eventually ended up under Frank's tutelage, but that's a whole other tower of foil — let's focus on the music from this excellent new offering. Let's also shelve (or try to) all the oft-employed descriptive jargon, all the hubbub about hemidemisemiquavers, ostinatos, flams and bum-nuzzling ADAT decks. Simply, Thanks For Flying With Us is the Mats/Morgan Band's most mature work to date; it's subtler, more varied, slightly more industrial-sounding as new approaches and angles are entertained. Worry not — it's no less a chopsfest!

The rolling bassline of "Sinus" is enough to make your eyes water; five minutes later and a blissful awakening is awarded the M/M novice. This colorful leadoff piece is so catchy, so cool, it shouldn't have any problem getting airplay; has Nick Harcourt, host of the syndicated radio program Morning Becomes Eclectic, heard of Mats/Morgan? "Sinus" should easily creep into MBE's playlist as other instrumental fusion, or ambient (Boards Of Canada) acts have had no problem. Back to the CD: the angular title track zaps you with adrenalized syncopations and chills you with legato detours. "JF's Tati-Car" operates a modal (or should that be moodal) color wheel that spins until a new sub-sub-subgenre dubbed "mercurial funk" makes a dangerous fly-by. Mats picks up his harmonica and indulges Morgan's brother Jimmy's guitar for a faux-duel on "La Baratte." Arranged throughout the stratified band pieces are duets like "Not Us," with only Morgan and 2nd keyboardist Robert Elovsson, and "Wounded Bird" and "Wenjie" by M/M. These cuts are not as grandiose but no less significant, divergences on differing wavelengths. A pianist first, Mats expertly digs into his synthetic palette; he's at home on an electric piano sample ("Wenjie") or a burbling slightly-detuned synth patch ("Proppeller Häst").

Twenty-five minutes of bonus material tops off this album: three more, different and live, duet pieces from two different tours of Gothenburg and Stockholm, and a demo with an additional percussionist. "Coco" is an (intentionally) amusing drumless interlude with a vocoder vocal by Mats; M/M Band bassist Tommy Tordsson provides the quarter pulse foundation. "Live Neff" is classic Mats & Morgan — as in piano and drums. Make that frenetic piano and drums. Moraz and Bruford won't do it, anymore (at least with each other—er, scratch that last thought from the record!), but we can count on these two dynamos for action. Not exactly leaner, and no less meaner than previous outings but more emotional, Thanks For Flying With Us is one flight path the listener is bound to trace over and over again.


1. Sinus (4:56)
2. Thanks For Flying With Us (3:34)
3. ADAT Dropouts I Love You (3:00)
4. Not Us (2:34)
5. JF's Tati-car (4:09)
6. La Baratte (5:51)
7. Softma (3:32)
8. Wounded Bird (4:35)
9. Propellor Hast (3:53)
10. Allan In The Rain (4:03)
11. Wenjie (3:12)
12. Please Remain Seated (3:20)

Bonus Tracks:
13. Coco (3:14)
14. Live Neff (7:52)
15. Alive In Enskede (8:02)
16. Ivan (7:28)

Total time – 74:17

Added: January 25th 2006
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
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Hits: 2913
Language: english

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