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Now in its 14th year, the unique and constantly evolving Fire! Orchestra is back with their largest line-up so far, counting an international cast of no less than 43 members that includes mainstay singer Mariam Wallentin as well as newcomers David Sandström and Joe McPhee, both on vocals, McPhee also on tenor sax. The popular and widely praised Arrival (RCD 2205CD/RLP 3205LP, 2019) is a highlight in both our and the band's catalog, but this epic triple album ups the ante. While following in the great tradition of ensembles led by the likes of Carla Bley, George Russell, and Keith Tippett, Echoes is firmly placed in 2022 and takes in elements of rock, jazz, folk, electronic, classical, and contemporary music. Starting out with the working title Big Bang, the near two-hour piece had its concert premiere at Stockholm Jazz Festival in October 2022 to rapturous applause from a full house, with major national newspaper Dagens Nyheter calling it a feast for eyes and ears in their ecstatic review. The core elements of Echoes are the seven self-titled parts, each mostly over ten minutes in duration, interspersed with shorter pieces where you find a string quartet, an "African" stretch and generally music of an exploratory and experimental nature. Considering the size of the orchestra and the somewhat intimidating working title, this is a very open, breathing, organic, detailed and dynamic recording with a lot of space. As previously, a defining base element in the music is the repetitive and hypnotic grooves from the main rhythm section of bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werliin. Needless to say, the hand-picked musicians are all on a very high level and on top of their game, conducted by Mats Gustafsson but given free reign when it's called for. And Jim O'Rourke was given free reign when it came to the selections and the mix and is a big part in how the final album turned out. The album closes with a vigorous tribute from Joe McPhee to one of the late, great masters, McPhee being a pretty decent finger wiggler himself, to say the least. Echoes was mostly written by Fire! founders Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, and Andreas Werliin and recorded at the legendary Atlantis studio in Stockholm in March of 2022. It was mixed by Jim O'Rourke in Japan in the course of two autumn months. The mastering and vinyl cut was done by loop-o mastering in Berlin, making for a fantastic sounding album, especially the vinyl edition is a real treat.