Atomic album



atomic resWere Lucidity the soundtrack, you wouldn’t want to be the subject of the film. On its 12th album the Norwegian/Swedish Atomic makes an art-form of causing disquiet, so even when the music is elegiac in the way we have come to expect of Scandinavian improvisers it is usually the quiet before another firestorm. When the mood is lonely it is not so much introspective as look-over-your-shoulder tense.

Long-term members Havard Wiik (piano), Fredrik Ljungkvist (tenor, clarinet), Magnus Broo (trumpet) and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten (bass) are joined by new drummer Hans Hulboekmo on sophisticated sagas where the lines between improvisation and composition are blurred as if by a white-out. In this soundscape with no horizon lost notes dance enigmatically and give you the shivers, and when those notes coalesce into teeming numbers and the full force of the band is unleashed you fear for the integrity of your speakers. This striking album unfolds in a language full of stark beauty, whispered threats and aural assaults, leavened by moments of exaltation.