Bracing, live-wire power trioism from a group led by Swedish drummer Peeter Uuskyla, who’s probably best known for his previous work with Peter Brötzmann, their duo and trio with bassist Peter Friis Nielsen. Here, Uuskyla is joined by electric bassist Anders Berg and guitarist Tellef Øgrim.
Their sound is roughly comparable to Last Exit, Brötzmann’s Full Blast, or Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society. But though Uuskyla’s playing is somewhat reminiscent of Jackson’s his combination with Berg and Øgrim is neither as belligerent nor as abrasive as Last Exit’s balls-out slash-and-burn, nor as soaked in harmolodic funk as the Decoding Society. Where Jackson and Laswell combined heavy rolling bass with bounce, Uuskyla’s trio is taut and metallic, sprung, flexed and sinuous, hitting hard on the recoil.
Ullr is short – five cuts wrapped up in less than 22 minutes and just one clocking in over 12, all flab-free and invigorating.
“Disembark then Board” kicks off the set at a pace bordering on frenetic, particularly in Uuskyla’s clattery drumming spiked with twangy, thumb-snap bass. But Øgrim’s guitar lines are tensile, picked out in single note runs amid Berg’s sinewy bass lines.
The bass on “Ullr” is run through effects for that larval, bubbly sound Laswell sometimes favours. Then Øgrim’s in the clear, soloing over drums before the pace drops, and Uuskyla sets up an extraordinary clatter of mixed metal percussion.
“Lusk” pulls further back, and sustains a mood of bare bones trioism for most of its six minutes, with only a hard, stark sheet-rain of cymbal hits creating a climax of sorts part way in.
“Lusk” ends with smeary bass string slides under sleigh bells, and the long cut, the brittle and feverish “Shine your Soul” begins with the complementary naturalism of palm slaps, taut snare, and dancing rim shots. After that it’s basically an extended snare roll, accompanied by sparse string accents, ahead of a long snare/guitar duet that eventually resolves on a pulse – springboard for the comparative bounce of bass-sprung “By the Southward Verging Sun”.
During the more exposed stretches of these cuts the listener tunes right into the tactility of the playing, but the upswing here – a snap in the freewheeling kit percussion, a keener edge to Øgrim’s electric guitar line and a gleaming thrum in the bass – carries a condensed musicality that belies the cut’s brevity.
“Wulþuz” is shorter still, a knotty, barbed and compacted tangle humming of torque and tension, leaving the listener on a high so it’s tempting to dive right back in at the beginning, and keep looping. The album’s brevity allows for it, and it would take a fair few back-to-back plays before wearing thin.
Peeter Uuskyla – drums; Anders Berg – bass; Tellef Øgrim – guitar.
Buy Ullr direct from the Simlas Bandcamp.