The Squid's Ear Magazine

Vathres: Liturgy of Lacuna (thanatosis produktion)

Three expansive works from composer and keyboardist/pianist Alex Zethson, developing concepts from themes and motifs developed over more than a decade, recorded over two years with exceptional care as he and his collaborators create subtle and beautifully evocative sonic environments that seamlessly incorporate acoustic, electronic, drone and feedback elements.

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Alexander Zethson-keyboard, piano, synthesizer

Leo Svensson Sander-vello

Torbjorn Zetterberg-electric bass

Vilhelm Bromander-double bass

Christer Bothen-bass clarinet

Tomas Hallonsten-keyboards

Goran Kajfes-trumpet

Daniel M. Karlsson-electronics

Christian Augustin-drums

Reine Fiske-guitar

Gustaf Hielm-electronic bass

Anton Toorell-synth bass

Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.

Label: thanatosis produktion
Catalog ID: THT28CD
Squidco Product Code: 33314

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Sweden
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Malarhojden Social Club, in Sthlm, Sweden, on July, 2002 through August, 2022, by Anton Toorell.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Based in Stockholm and active on the international scenes for alternative musics since 2009, keyboardist Alex Zethson is incessantly bringing a certain presence, coarseness and grace to each musical context he's involved with. While maintaining a keen and distinctive voice of his own, he's also a versatile musician with ability to contribute keyboard-centered material to a vast array of artistic expressions - whether he's backing vocalists such as Mariam the Believer, weaving complex hypnotic textures with Goran Kajfes Tropiques, providing profound ostinatos, building harmonic structures, and bursting out as a soloist in large ensembles such as Fire! Orchestra and Angles.

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in albums on which he has stepped forward as a composer and producer, works that unfolds a musical imagination that's consistent yet diverse and multifaceted - from the minimalist and gamelan-inspired chamber-kraut of Some Of Them Were Never Unprepared (Relative Pitch Records/Thanatosis 2021) to the organic synth/piano drone solo work Residy (SUPERPANG/Thanatosis 2022), and the ethereal, voice-centered EP Terje (Supertraditional 2023). This new release is an intriguing continuation to this unfolding process.

Liturgy of Lacuna is the first album of a new project, Vathres - meaning natural rock pools - where Zethson is both composer-producer and keyboardist/pianist. For this particular album he has gathered 14 musicians from the Stockholm scene, in order to realize a rich sound-world around three skeletal themes that date back to early 2010s. "These very basic, skeletal ideas have been in my system for over 10 years", says Zethson, "like sonic fragments that have slipped into my mental background for long periods of time, only to surface time and again, demanding my attention. Since they refused to leave me in peace, I had to listen closer, and now these seeds transformed into a living organism, with flesh and blood."

During the two-year long recording and production process, preconceived idiomatic restraints or fixed overall plans were shunned. Instead, Zethson says, that during the process he's been following his "intuition regarding towards where the music seemed to be gravitating. I always find it exciting to try to find out ways of working that enables and make possible surprises and unexpected turns throughout the process." The result is an album that sits within a sombre post-rock aesthetics (Kranky Records fans will probably be satisfied by its atmosphere and temperament), while also resonating with a shimmering, electronical and quasi-industrial sound design of, e.g., Richard Skelton's 2020 album These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound and some of doom-metal pioneers Earth's albums. Enriching Zethson's recorded output with characteristics familiar to his previous sets (such as the suggestive minimalism, and subtly evolving long-forms) the album also features elements new to his music, such as the presence of noisy electronics, astral synths traveling the stereofield, heavy doom-laden drums and guitar feedback that seems connected to eternity.

Behind the three image-evoking titles, which almost seems like parts of an abstract epos, are three tracks that gives a sense of a musically narrated story about different materials that move slowly, intermingle, and are gradually transformed. The pieces are forming a coherent whole, yet present three distinctively different sonic time- spaces.

With "and the ashes birthed them into air and their bodies hurtled towards the fire of the sun" we start off in a cold and barren landscape of scratches, noises, rips, buzzing and distortion, that soon become accompanied by a metrical pulse that builds and builds and eventually implodes. Its remaining pieces are transformed into the shape of a motif which is sung by the repeated Rhodes/piano-thrumming and a choirs of gliding synths and trumpet. Bass and drums are providing a stretchable foundation, creating different center-points in the melody, continuously shifting from one round to the next. Suddenly, a more striated space is mapped out, a part that explodes in a burst of electronics (played by Daniel M. Karlsson), over a 7/8-pattern within the ever-dancing 4/4-pulse that's created by rock solid bass clarinet and Fender Rhodes. It's over-taken by a massive drone trio of Vilhelm Bromander's double bass and Leo Svensson Sander's cello, with Christer Bothén's bass clarinet painting the shades of the colossus in different colors. The rhythmic pattern then reappears in the damped low-registered piano, while additional rhythm - as if sparkles from a wildfire - emerges from the percussion setup of Juan Romero.

From here we're transported to "and the sun was subsumed by the lands of silk and soil" and its transparent soundworld of tactile noise, out of which Svensson Sander's cello emerges like an epiphany, weaving gorgeous melodies on top of a 3-bar descending chord progression. It gradually slows in and is echoed by a Rhodes/piano-driven theme framed by arco-strings, synths and glimmering noise.

Flipping side ... and with its only track - "and the screams of the now extinct machines, rose again as nothingness" - it's as if we're entering a completely different scene, new actors, objects, and a different light. A (almost) repeated form - and a soundworld reminiscent of The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull-era Earth - slowly build up, and is constantly moving forward in slow pace with Gustaf Hielm's bass and Christian Augustin's drums providing a stable, haunted plateau that acts like a backdrop for Reine Fiske's morphing feedback cries, which sometimes merges with the cello sounds. With Zethson subsequently adding a piano ostinato - a role he's been continuously nurturing in above-mentioned bands such as F!O, Tropiques and Angles - the composition turns into a unstoppable creature, steadily waddling on and on, trembling with presence. After ca 10 minutes however, the machine does stop, and the second half of the B-side brings us to an other-worldly landscape, a collectively formed block of sounds - at the same time astral and industrial - echoing the 3-bar motif on track two, before finally landing on a temporary point of unsafe stability.


Regarding the recording process, Zethson explains that: "while all the three tracks have been sculpted with utilizing the studio as a compositional tool, the third cut is different from the first two in the sense that it was made a long uninterrupted cut. It's a first take, and the only take. The first two pieces, one the other hand, were made during multiple sessions. They were left to rest for periods of time, and then taken up and worked upon again, removing and adding elements until finally finding a sense of balance". While being the brainchild of Zethson, the album, he states, "is very much a co-creation and a result of ongoing experimenting with longtime friend and collaborator, guitarist, producer and engineer Anton Toorell, whose importance for the final result I can't stress enough. Also, the music is created communally, and I'm deeply grateful for the dedication and immense musicality of all the musicians involved. I'm also extremely happy that Mell Dettmer, who's been working with bands that have had huge influence on me (such as Sunn O))) and Earth), wanted to do the mastering of the album".

With Liturgy of Lacuna there's no doubt that Zethson together with his thirteen co- musicians have created a vibrant sonic organism, that give its listeners a bath in 37 minutes of transcendental bliss. "-Thanatosis

Also available as a vinyl LP.

Artist Biographies

"Alexander Zethson has completed the bachelor performance programme in jazz at KMH and is currently studying at the second year of the master's programme with Lisa Ullén as his primary instrument teacher.

Alexander has participated in extensive concert and tour activities and has participated in fifteen record productions. The ensembles include:

• Niklas Barnö's free jazz group Je Suis!• A number of tours in Europe with Martin Küchen's group Angles 9

Alexander is also active as arranger and pianist in collaboration with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, a cooperation which began in 2011. Zethson, Sofia Jernberg and Lene Grenager has arranged music from Hallingdal and Røros performed by the TJO with Zethson, Jernberg and violinist/Hardanger fiddler Olav Luksengård Mjelva."

-KMH Royal College of Music in Stockholm (

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"Cellist Leo Svensson Sander is a member of Erlend Viken Trio, Eter (6), Gul 3, Skog Och Dal, Skogen, Skuggorna Och Ljuset, The Tiny, Walrus"

-Discogs 2/28/2024

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"Torbjörn Zetterberg (born 10 May 1976) is a Swedish jazz musician (double bass) and composer, known from collaborations with Jonas Kullhammar.

Zetterberg attended Södra Latin och Fridhems Folkhögskola in Svalöv but was first recognised as bassist when he studied at Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm still very young. Here he studied bass under guidance of Jan Adefelt. Soon he joined drummer Fredrik Norén's band together with the saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar. Already at this point one could sense that he would become a prominent figure in the Swedish jazz scene. Now his name is firmly rooted in the vibrant progressive selection as the new jazz generation.

He went through a personal crisis and did not record as a bandleader for more than seven years. Zetterberg was uncomfortable with his career and in 2010 he decided to leave the urban life including his bass, and moved to a Buddhist temple. There he resided for a year and still spends half of his time there in 2016. This existential crisis led to the production of the album Och Den Stora Frågan ("And the Big Question" in Swedish) in 2014. Here he collaborated with well known musicians from his earlier career, like the Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and drummer Jon Fält, known from albums with pianist Bobo Stenson's trio. The album is "charged with joyful urgency, shiny optimism and confident flowing energy, despite the doubts and uncertainties that accompany any creative, artistic process", the reporter of All About Jazz stated in 2014."

-Wikipedia (

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"Vilhelm BroMander (1988) is a Swedish bass player, improviser and composer based in Stockholm. He embraces his bass from many different angles, with a great curiosity in sound, texture, intonation and timbre. Often he directs his focus to acoustic details such as beating, common partials and difference tones - to hear what happens with our perception when we allow ourselves to be immersed in sound for a longer stretch of time. He draws inspiration from a wide variety of genres such as improvised music, free jazz and electronic music as well as his studies of just intonation and dhrupad.

As an improviser he has played with musicians like Axel DöRner, Tisha Mukarji, Michael Thieke, Sten Sandell, Christer BothéN, Katt Hernandez, Lisa UlléN, Henrik Olsson to name a few.

Also being a popular session musician he has played with among others Daniel Johnston, Saigon, Musette, Joe Davolaz, Josefin öHrn + The Liberation, The Tiny & Music Is The Weapon."

-Vilhelm Bromander Website (

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"Christer Bothén born 1941 in Gothenburg, based in Stockholm, Sweden. Composer, musician and artist. His main instruments are bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, donso n'goni and guimbri. Bothén spent 1971 - 72 in Mali, where he studied hunter's music and donso n'goni with master Broema Dombia in Bougouni, Wassoulut. In 1977 he took up gnawa music studies with master Maalem Abdellatif Elmakhzoumi in Marrakech, who he studied with until the master passed away in 2017. From 1970 onwards, Bothén collaborated with Don Cherry, and he also taught Cherry the donso n'goni. In 1980 Bothén started Bolon Bata, a band that toured intensively, performing Bothéns compositions. Its members included Bosse Skoglund, Marianne N'Lemvo and Ulf Lindén. Later the band became Bolon X, adding band members Morgan Ågren and Rafael Sida. From 1990 onwards, Bothén has continued leading his own groups, and has also collaborated frequently with multi-reedist Mats Gustafsson, performance artist and musician Sara Lundén and cornetist Goran Kajfeš."

-Thanatosis (

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Tomas Hallonsten is a Swedish keyboard and trumpet player. Hallonsten is known for his solo work and with the groups Exploding Customer, Fire! Orchestra, Pallin, Tape, Time Is a Mountain, and Vega.

-Squidco 2/28/2024

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"Goran Kajfes, born 22 June 1970 in Tyreso Assembly, is a Swedish trumpeter. Kajfeš is the son of Davor Kajfeš.

Goran has worked with, among others, Eric Gadd, Stina Nordenstam, Fläskkvartetten, Kent, The Tiny, Bruno K. Öijer, Neneh Cherry, Robyn, Mando Diao, Lester Bowie, Blacknuss, Sugababes, Nicolai Dunger, Håkan Hellström, Janet Jackson, Moneybrother, Freddie Wadling, José González, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Eric Malmberg, Club Killers, Monica Zetterlund, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Eldkvarn, Matti Bye and Bo Diddley, The Thing XL, weeping willows, Cheik Lo.

Solo debut Home (2000) was released on the EMI (Kaza / Blue Note) and a lot of attention for his mix of jazz and electronics. Sequel HeadSpin won a Grammy (2004). The third album, X / Y (2010) was nominated for this year's jazz album in The Independent, and was hailed around the world including magazine Mojo. He was also awarded the Nordic Music Prize for the disc. After the album was released (with his Subtropic Arkestra) The Reason Why Vol.1 (2012) and most recently, The Reason Why Vol. 2 (2014). Both featured in Mojo, Uncut, Songlines, The Wire, Jazz Journal and so on.

Kajfeš is also featured in the jazz group Oddjob, together with among others Per "Ruskträsk" Johansson and Daniel Karlsson, who has released six full-length albums (Amigo Music, ACT, Headspin Recordings) and beyond that also Grammy Award winning children's album Jazzoo. He is also a member of the free jazz band Nacka Forum (Moserobie Records) with Kjell Nordeson, Jonas Kullhammar and Johan Berthling, Angles 9, Fire! Orchestra, Magnus Carlson & The Moon Ray Quintet and skabandet Jobalites.

He runs the record company Headspin Recordings, with David Österberg.

Kajfeš has also composed music for films and television series including Kristian Petri's The Well documentaries and feature films Details, The Mouse of Bigert Bergstrom, The Sun of Ulf Rollof, vignette music to the SVT Cobra, All wild, a film about Birgitta Stenberg, Havana Motor Club by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt. He has written and performed music for Saw The White Buffalo Dancing with dance group Vindhäxor.

Oddjob The group performed a large part of the music (composed by Matti Bye) to the hundred year old who climbed out the window and disappeared.

Kajfeš produced weeping willows albums The Time Has Come, Magnus Carlson and the Moon Ray quintet and most of Titiyos album Hidden.

In 2014 asked Kajfeš in collaboration with David Osterberg audio installation Batysphere on Färgfabriken."

-Wikipedia translated by Google ( )

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Daniel M. Karlsson, born 1980, is a Swedish composer and electronic musician based in Stockholm that works with algorithmic composition. His music is focused primarily on texture and timbre. Daniel M Karlsson has a Masters degree in Computer Music from Kungliga Musikhögskolan I Stockholm.

-Squidco 2/28/2024

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Christian Augustin (born 1983) is a Swedish drummer, known for the bands Dammit I'm Mad, Flickstick, Kantor, Khoma, KRISPR, Riwen and Totalt Jävla Mörker.

-Metal Archives (

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"Nils Reine Fiske (born 4 October 1972 in Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden) is a Swedish guitarist, art director and sound engineer at the record label Subliminal Sounds, who put his signature to many prog-rock project such as Landberk, Morte Macabre, Paatos, Motorpsycho, Elephant9, and Träd, Gräs & Stenar, but is best known for his playing in the band Dungen.

Fiske is currently playing in The Amazing with Christopher Gunrup, but has also played with the band Reform, and is a member of Sylvester Schlegel's band The Guild, in addition to those already mentioned. In 2012 he has released two albums, one with the band Svenska Kaputt which in addition to Fiske is constituted by Jonas Kullhammar, Torbjörn Zetterberg and Johan Holmegard, Still Life With Eggplant and Behind the Sun with the Norwegian prog-rock band Motorpsycho, and Atlantis with another Norwegian prog-rock band Elephant9, comprising the trio Ståle Storløkken, Nikolai Eilertsen and Torstein Lofthus. The latter appeared at Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2012. He is currently a member of Träd, Gräs & Stenar."

-Wikipedia (

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Erik Gustaf Harald Hielm is a guitarist and bassist, known for the groups Charta 77, Mats/Morgan Band, Meshuggah, Pain Of Salvation, Piggy In The Middle, and Forkelid.

-Discogs (

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Anton Toorell is a guitarist & electronics artist, known group work and music for films. He is a member of Invader Ace, Receptacles, Dammit I'm Mad, and has worked with The Ägg, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & The MaXx, Linnea Henriksson, Carolina Wallin Perez, and Propanions.

-Anton Toorell Website (

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Track Listing:

1. And The Ashes Birthed Them Into Air And Their Bodies Hurtled Towards The Fire Of The Sun 14:06

2. And The Sun Was Subsumed By The Lands Of Silk And Soil 5:09

3. And The Screams Of The Now Extinct Machines, Rose Agina As Nothingness 17:15

Related Categories of Interest:

Compositional Forms
Improvised Music
Piano & Keyboards
Electronic Forms
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Large Ensembles
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Experimental & Electronic Music
New in Compositional Music

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