Plunge: Refreshingly Addictive

"Refreshingly Addictive" is the third album by Plunge (their second as a trio). This CD was recorded in front of an audience in Gula Studion in Malmö in January 2007. The music, which is still improvised, also indicates how Plunge´s music has evolved over the years, it includes more counterpoint and has become more minimalist than their previous work.

Andreas Andersson - baritone sax 
Mattias Hjorth - double bass
Peter Nilsson - drums

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Baritone saxophone
Drum solo

KOPACD 014169 SEK / 18 EUR


1. Refreshingly Addictive
2. Chant
3. Kind Of Askew
4. Moveable
5. Involvement
6. The Zürich Effect
7. None Of The Above

Review qoutes: 

"The sequence of albums shows the trio gaining confidence in themselves and each other, as they gradually strip away the extraneous, unearthing and burnishing the core of their musical personalities. The resulting music is very exciting, introducing drama into the cerebral and keeping the listener within a recurring cycle of anticipation followed by resolution. Although Andersson is the natural leader due to his instrument, Nilsson and bassist Matthias Hjorth do not simply react, but instead surround Andersson with an elastic sound field that allows any player to take the lead. The first, and title track is a complete example of the band's real-time methodology, the high level of group interaction that has been achieved and the coherence created over time.
The group sound - anchored by the Nilsson's huge cymbal splashes and gong hits, and Hjorth's close listening to Nilsson - is both mysterious and exciting, allowing Andersson to go where he wishes. This is music making of the highest caliber, and it's possible to hear the spontaneous being manipulated with a constant eye peeled towards creating structure, all in real time. Andersson once again keenly balances the free, the melodic and the tonal, and the tension/release dynamic created by the band is wonderful, creating the perfect bookend with the title track. Creative improvised music does not get much better than Refreshingly Addictive." - Budd Kopman/All About Jazz

"The Swedish trio Plunge has been together for six years now, and
their collective experience shows on this live recording. Expectations
that this will be a Free Jazz session full of fire music from baritone, bass, and drums are quickly subverted by Andersson, Hjorth, and Nilsson. First off, while the tunes are all spontaneously improvised, there are lyrical structures throughout. The trio excels at mining that free lyricism, pushing the music with a simmering urgency while maintaining a decidedly relaxed edge. Then there’s Andersson’s tone. Sticking to the high end of the bari, he often sounds more like a tenor player, though there is a husky edge that always comes through. Bass players are one of the keys to a great reed, bass, drums trio, and Hjorth fills the role effectively. He provides a melodic counterpoint to Andersson’s baritone while playing off of drummer Nilsson’s free pulse. He plays with a laid-back, supple sense of phrasing and time coupled with a warm, woody sound. Drummer Nilsson plays with a limber, light touch that catalyzes the music without ever overwhelming. His willingness to lay out and leave space for the others shows power through restraint. Throughout, the improvisations open into sections for duos and solos, effectively showcasing each of the musicians as both soloist and collaborator. This release is further proof of the strong Jazz scene in Sweden."
- Michael Rosenstein/Cadence Magazine

"The opening Refreshingly Addictive demonstrates the spirit of the recording: slow and patient exploration of a spare theme. Andersson leads with a relaxed, simple melodic line that slowly gains more volume, but he does not opt for loudest, while Nilsson and Hjorth consolidate and color his blows. ChantKind Of Askew and Moveable are even more restrained, spiritual and minimalist, with the trio drawing the skeletal, fragmented lines of these lyrical pieces. Nilsson turns the shortest piece here, Involvement, into a subtle and nuanced solo suite for percussion. The longest piece, the almost eighteen-minute The Zürich Effect, alternates between long, spare and lyrical passages - where the pauses in the playing are equal to the playing itself, where each note and gesture counts - to shorter and more investigatory mode of collective improvisation - though still patient and even slow-motion - all in beautiful interplay. Nilsson demonstrates, again, how he can color and mutate the character of each piece with his sensitive and inventive touch. Andersson searches for the lower registers of his sax, adding a soft vocal quality while Hjorth skitters with his bow. Andersson's rare extroverted playing on the closing None Of The Above, lightly references the playing of Swedish baritone hero Lars Gullin, but the trio uses this piece as a dramatic conclusion for this impressive set. On this release, more than on previous ones, it is clear that Andersson, Hjorth and Nilsson are trying to reach deeper and more mysterious terrains, perhaps just by following Andersson's spiritual and humble playing."
- Eyal Hareuveni/All About Jazz

"Definitely refreshing and probably addictive too. The atmospherics (imagine Sweden in the middle of winter) are deep and fantasy-like. Extreme restraint in the opening title track with Andreas Andersson on baritone sax demonstrating a mature passion and rich sensitivity leading the soft, funky bass and drum (with added gongs) on a thought provoking eleven and a half minutes. A sensitive artistic synergy continues with an added lyricism through into Chant and Askew hints tastefully at a genre known in some parts as jazz. Peter Nilsson opens with shaking shells on Moveable allowing the sax to deliver a melancholic monologue which in turn allows the bass (Mattias Hjorth) to open right out and the three engage in deep conversation. Involvement is my favorite piece - a beautiful, understated, gently rolling, rich drum solo making me want to pick up sticks. The Zürich Effect at a healthy seventeen and a half minutes allows for some serious listening as this session really got into the swing of timeless, effortless experimentation; all credit to an attentive audience whose obliging presence can almost be felt through some of the most minimal and introspective moments, the playing remaining superior and clean throughout. The strength of this album lies in it's sensitive colours and the almost primitive, non-technical approach from these excellent musicians who are clearly capable of great skill. But like the sleeve in it's slightly psychedelic photo of a road apparently stopping abruptly at beautiful bright pink trees, there has to be a point where technical prowess gives way to the point of pure appreciation and admiration. The last note says it all."
- Jonny Drury/

"The result is just as relaxed as it is focused, and this is the groups´ strongest effort so far. Slow-paced pieces with restrained forms, rarely painted in loud colours, are being playfully improvised. Baritone saxophonist Andreas Andersson visits some mysterious terrains and manages to avoid predictable discoveries better than before. He digs deeper into the notes without getting gloomy. At the same time, he is strongly supported by bassist Mattias Hjorth and drummer Peter Nilsson, who are both also in a sparse mood."
Magnus Olsson/Svenska Dagbladet

"Air, devotion, and slow paces give the music on "Refreshingly Addictive" its shape. Saxist Andreas Andersson, bassist Mattias Hjorth and drummer Peter Nilsson allow the listeners to breathe in sync with the music. Fragments of melodies submerge, are examined and disappear only to resurface again. Andersson's baritone is sincere and lyrical, actually hinting of Gullin in spirit! I like music that breathes, and Plunge's music really does." - Tor-Björn Lyrhed/Linköpingsposten

"Praise to patience!" "I am fond of this method and also the courage it takes to stick to the plan throughout the 70 plus minutes on this album. On top of this, Andersson's baritone playing is very lyrical with a beautiful tone. The delicate and receptive interplay between the 3 musicians is also delightful to follow. In the midst of this slowly flowing stream, paradoxically there is an urge and an intense spirit."
- Jan Strand/OJ

"Malmö based Plunge has made a name for themselves on the Swedish improvisation scene over the last few years and this, their third release, is a good testimony of why. With Andreas Andersson's near plastic baritone sax in focus, the trio springs into the unknown in seven improvisations that sound more like lyrical minimalist compositions than traditional free jazz. Mattias Hjort (bass) and Peter Nilsson (drums) does not make up a rhythm section in the traditional sense either. Rather, organically fused parts conspire from all three players and the group's music not only is unusually succinct and passionate, but also demonstrates that you actually can find new paths within the paradoxically rather narrow frames of free jazz."

- Magnus Nilsson/Smålandsposten

"When local guitar great, Anders Nilsson, introduced me to
his brother Peter, little did I know how strong a drummer he is. I had heard Peter play in Anders' band Aorta on record, as well as on another disc from Plunge that features ECM pianist Bobo Stenson.
Turns out that Peter and Plunge are some of the finest Swedish musicians around. What I dig about much of this is that it has a most
relaxed atmosphere, rather ECM-like in austere, tranquil yet it simmers with a slowly burning charm. Andreas has a lovely, warm and often
touching tone on his baritone sax, it is rare to hear someone play that big sax so sweetly, yet expressly. Peter, who can play more intensely and rock hard on occasion in Aorta, also plays here with skeletal restraint. At times I am reminded of the somber drama of The Necks, the way each note counts and the way the pieces build slowly to a slightly more dramatic conclusion. There is a subtle tension that holds this together and there are a series of slow moving waves that appear at times and pull you along with them until you slowly drown." 
- Bruce Gallanter/Downtown Music Gallery

"Impressive new album of fully improvised pieces by this Swedish trio, that consists of Andreas Andersson on baritone sax, Mattias Hjorth on double bass and Peter Nilsson on drums. Although the music is fully improvised, the three musicians feel each other blindly, building very coherent and focused pieces, that manage to build up tension and keep increasing this tension - and hence also listener's expectations - without leaving the tune's main angle of approach. Andersson's playing on the baritone is warm, single-toned and controlled, without squeals or overblowing, slow, precise and full of direction. This "slowness", if that's the correct word, is one of the band's main features: they're not afraid of silence, yet without making the music meditative, they use it as a functional element to keep the tension going. Emotional expression and aesthetic beauty are the main drivers for this band, in which all three musicians play an equal role. Hjorth's bass playing is free and anchored in the tradition, but great, as in Charlie Haden's bass-playing, full of ideas and melancholy. Nilsson's drumming is broad and creative, working his instrument often like a percussionist would, adding accents, creating musical effects rather than rhythm and pulse. The only downside of the album is that most tracks keep within the same tonal range and tempo, yet on the other hand that enables them to get this tight instant compositional feel, recommended." ****

Plunge  Photo: Mikael Dahl
Photo: Mikael Dahl