Review: Magnus Öström

Magnus Öström ,Thobias Gabrielson and Andreas Hourdakis
LJF2011. Photo credit: Patrick Hadfield

Magnus Ostrom
(Camp EC1. Part of LJF2011. Review by Patrick Hadfield)

Welcoming us to his gig in the dark basement of a City office block, Magnus Öström said it felt just like home – his rehearsal space is in a basement! His band’s time beneath ground had been well-spent: they produced a fully honed sound, mixing jazz improvisation with rock rhythms and guitars, folk and dance themes to create a singular vision.

Most of the material came from Öström’s debut album, “Thread of Life”, with one new, untitled number and an improvised piece which Öström described as “house-jazz” – much of the gig had a slightly psychedelic feel about it. Although Öström’s energetic drumming grounds the band, Thobias Gabrielson on bass and keyboards, and Andreas Hourdakis on guitar and effects provide much of the texture. Gustav Karlöf played some beautiful piano, and stood out on the quieter, more jazz-influenced pieces. Öström seemed really grateful to be playing, and the audience responded, moving and dancing to the rhythms.

Much of the music, though, had a dark, brooding quality to it: they produce a haunting sound. Öström’s drumming has a penetrating intensity. Karlöf dropped back, leaving the band a trio for the delicate “Ballad for E”, dedicated movingly to the late Esbjorn Svensson, with whom Öström played for many years. Svensson’s absence permeated the gig: though Öström’s music is very different from EST, hearing his drumming in a new context served to emphasise how integral he was to the EST sound.

magnusostrom.com

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