* Black Vinyl edition * Fire! have always been about finding the essence by getting to the core of the music. Their 8th album sees the trio - for the first time on record - stripped down to the bare-bones essentials; with no flutes, no electronics, no guests and no extras, recorded live in the studio to analogue tape - the Steve Albini way - with the master himself at the controls in Electrical Audio in Chicago. Thus, this album stands as a true testament to the group´s expressive power and glowing intimacy. Musically, Testament can be seen as an extension of their previous full length album Defeat, released two years ago, to the month. A solitary bass figure from Johan Berthling, quickly joined by a stout drum groove, gets it all going in a familiar fashion before Mats Gustafsson adds desolate cries and whispers from his baritone sax. This approach is even more honed on the second track, with the most simplistic groove you´re likely to hear in jazz and Gustafsson shifting between extended, lonely, tortured lines, only once abrupted by a series of short bursts. The third track starts with loose and relatively lively drums that continue throughout, but the mournful saxophone maintains a subdued atmosphere. Track four is a real beauty with the trio slipping into a trance-like dream state before shifting gear halfway into its nine minutes. The final track is the most dynamic of the lot, shifting between bursts of energy and lyrical beauty. Fire´s debut album, You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago, was released in 2009 to wide international acclaim.
“The basic strategy of pairing the expressive energy of free jazz with a sturdy sense of groove has yielded something potent and self-contained” (New York Times).
Between this and Testament there´s been six albums, including collaborations with Jim O´Rourke (Unreleased?) and Oren Ambarchi (In The Mouth A Hand), as well as the Requies EP with Stephen O´Malley and David Sandström in 2022. Testament was recorded and mixed during a three-day stint at Steve Albini´s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago in December 2022.