Mats/Morgan Band
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Trends And Other Diseases (1996), 6/10
The Music Or The Money (1997), 7/10
On Air With Guests (2002), 5/10
Thanks For Flying With Us (2005), 6/10
Schack Tati (2014), 5/10

The Mats/Morgan Band is a Swedish ensemble led by multi-instrumentalist Mats Oberg (blind from birth) and drummer Morgan Agren that started out as a Frank Zappa cover band.

Trends And Other Diseases (1996), recorded from 1993 to 1995, revealed their talent as composers as well, and then the double-cd The Music Or The Money (UAE, 1997 - Cuneiform, 2010) fully demonstrated their artistic reach. The instrumental pieces comprise the core of the album. They range from Jeriko, eight-minute of warped jazz-rock, to to the comic nine-minute folkish dance Bader Puff, from musique-concrete concoctions to ambient keyboard interludes, from hard-rocking progressive jams (If I Only Had a Clavinet) to dadaistic Zappa-esque jazz-classical vignettes (Daisy), with a clear preference for the stylistic nonsense (Banned Again, Griefen, Hjortron Fran Mars, Advokaten Le Messian) The few songs were parodies. I Wanna and especially Coco remixed White Album-era Beatles, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and Todd Rundgren. The 2010 reissue adds unreleased material.

The following years were somewhat uneven, relying on The Teenage Tapes (1998), that collects unreleased material from their prehistory, and live recordings such as Radio Da Da (1998) and On Air With Guests (2002) to keep them in business.

Live 2001 (Ultimate Audio Entertainment, Cuneiform, 2011), recorded in june 1999, featured Jimmy Agren on guitar, Tommy Thordsson on bass and two additional keyboardists (Eric Carlsson and Robert Elovsson). The carillon-like organ of Hollmervalsen sets the tone for another vaudeville-tinged jam, and the frantic polka-like beat of Etage A41 sounds like a futuristic parody of techno music; and the childish cacophony of Kintornen seems to thumb its nose at the crowd. On the other hand, the mutating Ta Ned Trasan displays the group's stylistic prowess in merging Zappa's orchestral frenzy and lounge-style jazz-rock, and Jigsaw Variations evokes Colosseum their most energetic peak,

Thanks For Flying With Us (Cuneiform, 2005) appears to be the worthy successor to their magnus opus The Music Or The Money. Starting with a vibrant tribute to Frank Zappa's convoluted jazz-rock, Sinus (doubled later into the album by Proppeller Hast), it delves into the energetic and fast-mutating Thanks For Flying With Us, the light-weight semi-novelty JF's Tati-Car, the lively metamorphoses of La Baratte, featuring a cute dissonant "melody" over intense drumming, the caotic ethnic pastiche of Allan in the Rain (featuring Turkish reed player Ismet Demirhan), while not ashamed of the intelligent lounge jazz of Adat Dropouts I Love You nor of the new-age funk of Wounded Bird, nor of the piano muzak of Wenjie.

Oberg released Alla Drömmars Sang (Country & Eastern, 2013).

Schack Tati (Cuneiform, 2014), the first Mats/Morgan studio album in nine years, excels at "rhythm-scapes" such as The Swedes and Vinyls & Pusherman. Best Zappa tribute this time around is probably the circular frenzy of Rappel. The catchiest number is the closing Schack Tati, a sort of disco-pop ditty.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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