Fresh from an LP and tour as The Cherry Thing with vocalist Neneh Cherry, The Thing - Mats Gustafsson (sax/electronics), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (bass/electronics) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) return to Cafe OTO for two nights of heavyweight free improvisation and deep dives into an expansive songbook that includes everything from Don Cherry and Norman Howard to PJ Harvey and The White Stripes.
“Tapping into rock’s most primal forces with the fire and fury that’s something to behold” Mojo
The Thing was established in the spring of February 2000 when the three musicians met do play several concerts and to record the first CD on Crazy Wisdom, a sub label of Swedish Universal. In 2001, they also recorded another CD on the same label as a quartet with Joe McPhee. Both CD´s are out of print.
The trio was a long wanted constellation where several musical styles meet in a very high energetic outlet. All members are influenced by different traditions of free music derived from Germany, England and America, and these influences are to be felt and not necessary heard.
When the trio started out, the book contained mainly of tunes by Don Cherry, hence the group’s name. Since Joe McPhee's participation, the group’s reportuar has included other free jazz standards by David Murray, Frank Lowe and Norman Howard. Also, the groups enthusiasm towards rock music, is heard when they play “To Bring You My Love” by PJ Harvey on the second CD. Today the book has expanded to include tunes by The White Stripes, The Sonics and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This is just an example that explains how close musical styles are today, how similar the energy is and can be, and how much today`s audience is melted together, devoted to creative music. The Thing is now signed on the Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound.
Mats Gustafsson is today Sweden’s and one of Europe’s biggest names on the free music scene. Through groups like Gush, AALY trio and Peter Brötzmann`s Chicago Tentet, he has established himself as a very powerful saxophonist, and has somewhat reinvented the way of playing the saxophone.
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love has become known as Norway`s heaviest rhythm-section. Since they`re long time collaboration started in 1992, they have been working in several groups, amongst them are School Days with Ken Vandermark, Scorch trio with Raoul Björkenheim, and the Swedish/Norwegian jazz-group Atomic.
The Thing also performs with Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O'Rourke, Thurston Moore and Cato Salsa Experience.
“The sheer power they generate from wood, metal, breath and muscle is stunning” BBC
“I went to a private session of theirs … which I thought was absolutely outstanding. The musicians are Paul Abbott (drum kit), Seymour Wright (alto), and Daichi Yoshikawa (electronics). [...] They tell me they have been playing together for quite a while...”
- Victor Schonfield
“convulsing but controlled, reigned and railed, concentrated not opposing between the 3.
Sound bending to include others. to be met and slightly connected.
Semi-soothed in trilling galloping galactic space”
“There are some globs of clay inside a cage. The cage is badly made from a gridded, rough, metal wire. It is suspended from the ceiling of a living room … inside the cage, above the clay, is a small glass box with a neat funnel protruding from its base.”
“dancing in a foundry where they're casting ❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚❚
sculptures. Freedom and molten iron.”
- JDM 
Alex Ward is a composer, improviser, and performing musician, working primarily with clarinet and guitar.
His involvement in freely improvised music dates back to 1986, when he met the guitarist Derek Bailey. He subsequently took part regularly in Bailey's Company events, and has gone on to become a major figure in British improvised music.
His current work ranges from the duo Dead Days Beyond Help, in which he plays guitar and sings, his group Predicate who perform his compositions, regular improvising groups with Steve Noble, Kay Grant and others, as well as more ad hoc encounters with musicians as diverse as Thurston Moore, Joe Morris and Duck Baker.
He brings a unique energy and inventiveness to all these projects, elevating them far above the ordinary and injecting them with a thrilling sense of danger and possibility.
Dominic Lash has performed with Tony Conrad and Evan Parker; other currently active ensembles include a duo with Alex Ward, a trio with John Butcher and John Russell and The Convergence Quartet (with Taylor Ho Bynum, Harris Eisenstadt and Alexander Hawkins). He also leads The Set Ensemble (an experimental music group mainly devoted to the work of composers from the Wandelweiser collective). Recent CD publications include work on the Another Timbre, Cathnor, Clean Feed and Psi labels. He was resident in New York for much of 2011, where he performed with musicians including Michael Pisaro, Fay Victor and Nate Wooley.
Dag Erik Knedal Andersen is the wild card whose flamboyant, hyperactive, take-no-prisoners approach to drumming place him somewhere between Paal Nillsen-Love and Han Bennink. He is an ubiquitous part of the Oslo and Norwegian improvised music scene having won the title of ’Talent of the Year’ at the Molde Jazz Festival in 2010.