Aguirre Records / Belgium / 2022
In dark times of geopolitical powerplay and war mongering, artistic counter attacks are often shaped as quests for openness and liberation. No troupe within the current musical underground embodies this urge like the Gothenburg sound dwellers of Enhet För Fri Musik. With spiritual roots in the candour of the 1960s free jazz and the raw aethestics of early 2000s free folk, Enhet started delving into different forms of (semi) improvised musical expression around 2015. ‘Fri Musik’ is a very apt generalisation of previous liberating endeavours in music history, since the Enhet does not approach the freedom trope from a genre bound perspective, they are as much folk as they are ambient or lofi cassette experiment. At times times they sound like an indigenous tribe from some undefined part of the world, then again like hazy mutterings from a long forgotten utopian hippy commune.
In an interview with Keith Knox For Jazz Monthly in 1967 American jazz trumpeter Don Cherry noted: ‘’[E]veryone should be interested in trying to bring some kind of music that they have in their bodies out of them. That’s what music was here for. People used to fight over food, but they would get together and play music in their homes’. It might not come as a surprise that Cherry was settling in Sweden when he developed his ideas about organic music, a collective expression rather than a market driven cultural product.
A similar idiom lies at the source of Dokument 1: Improvisationer Och Bandmusik För Vilt Dansande Själar, in which spontaneity is celebrated over orchestration, imagination over production. The story goes that it was the group’s aim to record a progressive jazz record, only brilliantly failing in doing so. They would sit together drinking, only to see someone picking up an instrument every now and then and having a go at it. The record, then, is labeled as a ‘document’ for a reason. What is offered here are stimuli of what could possibly become ballads, but obstinately refuse to do so. It is a registration of their hiss drenched freedom culture, not ‘an album’ as such. The drafts and sketches are molded into miniature song deconstructions that synthesize diy sound culture of the last seven decades in a way that is both local and universal. As if it could only have come from the country that also sprouted Philemon Arthur & The Dung, but at the same time sleeping in between Un and Brannten Schnüre.
The wild dancing souls that are mentioned in the record’s title are haunting through these documents as the summoned predecessors, but they are also the souls of the listeners. Witnesses who are evoked to be alienated and disoriented into the Enhet’s cult of intuition, soaked into an ambiguous organism that is nightmarishly intimate, and soothingly discomforting (Steve Marreyt).