Smalltown keeping the pace: label nights and The Thing

Special label nights at two important festivals, and an exciting new box release, prove that Smalltown Supersound/ Superjazz is at the forefront of independent music as ever before.

The Thing 2007

Few labels embody the spirit of independent music in a way comparable to Smalltown Supersound: zeitgeisty (in the positive sense) unrestricted, and, most of all, artistically truthful music is brought forth at a frequency that is baffling. Especially if one has a look at the number of releases last year and not least their international reception.

But it is not simply in terms of releases that Smalltown show their zeal; the new fashion of “label nights” is something at which Smalltown excel, and small wonder if one takes a look at the label’s catalogue of artists: the names under the Smalltown umbrella are consistently subject to international buzz and connoisseur admiration. For they are artists in the true sense of the word, not commodities pushed by an industry.

The interesting thing about the label nights is the indication they give that people are now increasingly becoming fans of labels rather than single acts. This just goes to show the confidence that is put in the tastes of the people behind labels such as Smalltown; it’s like they’ve become favourite DJ’s; someone you can trust to choose the music you like for you.

Smalltown will be staging two important label nights shortly: Most important is the one taking place at the mammoth SXSW festival in Austin in March. The showcase will feature Bjørn Torske, Sunburned the Hand of the Man, Lindstrøm, Arp, Diskjokke and Kim Hiorthøy. – All names that belong to the international vanguard of electronic and dance music and all of which released acclaimed records last year.

But before that, two special Smalltown parties will be hosted during the by:Larm festival in Norway, which this year will be hosted by Oslo. (- A belated acknowledgement that in a little country like Norway one simply cannot bypass the capital and its dominance in also the field of music.) The names are Lindstrøm, Bjørn Torske and Sunkissed DJ G-Ha on the first night (Feb. 22nd), and 120 days and Diskjokke the following.

As of releases the most interesting right now from Smalltown (the Smalltown Superjazz division) is the release of a box-set with the garage jazz juggernaut The Thing. The joint Norwegian/Swedish improv trio features one of Europe’s leading sax players Mats Gustavsson and arguably one of the best rhythm sections around; drummer Paal Nilssen Love and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. The Thing blends the spontaneity and imagination of classic free jazz with the emotional immediacy of underground garage rock. With acoustic traditional jazz instrumentation, the three young Scandinavians can match the power of the fiercest rock band. The Thing's repertoire consists of 60's era new-jazz (Don Cherry, Ayler, James Blood Ulmer, David Murray) and reinterpretations of underground rock classics (PJ Harvey, White Stripes, Sonics). This is no watered down jazz-rock. The Thing take the most uncompromising aspects of both genres and turn up the heat - representing the best of cross-border collaboration. This is pure energy – free flowing improvisation and outbursts of anger contrasted by tight interplay and rhythmic savvy.

The box consists of the band’s two first records “The Thing” and “She Says,” two classics that have been unavailable for years. It also includes a CD of improv-sessions and a DVD featuring a live performance at the Øya festival with Thurston Moore.

Release date: TBA.

The Thing will also perform at by:Larm

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