Fire Orchestra: Arrival (Vinyl LP)
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Double LP version. Includes CD. Their first two albums, Exit (RCD 2138CD/RLP 3138LP, 2013) and Enter (RCD 2158CD/RLP 3158LP, 2014), were presented with sizable and ambitious line-ups of 28 musicians. Ritual (RCD 2182CD/RLP 3182LP, 2016) saw it reduced to 21 and with Arrival it's been trimmed down to a mere 14, with the core trio of Fire! (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, and Andreas Werliin) and the two singers Mariam Wallentin and Sofia Jernberg being the only constant members since the beginning. Apart from this reduction, the main line-up difference is the introduction of a string quartet. This cleanup has worked wonders, keeping the rhythm and horn sections to their bare necessities, with the string quartet expanding the canvas and bringing a new, exciting dimension to the table. And on top of their game; the two powerful and sublime singers, quite different, but still blending perfectly. Drummer and producer Andreas Werliin should also be mentioned for his work in the audio department; rarely has there been such a detailed, warm, deep and dynamic mix from a relatively complex combination of instruments. Arrival is a collection of more individual compositions and songs, including two stunning cover versions. Blue Crystal Fire by visionary guitarist Robbie Basho was first heard on his 1978 album Visions of the Country. At Last I Am Free was originally written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers of Chic. Although the rest of the tracks are credited to Berthling, Gustafsson, Werliin and Wallentin, it's important to stress that this time the orchestra members have had considerable creative input throughout the process. Arrival is light and shade, joy and despair, structure and improvisation, performed by an ensemble of excellent musicians.