"Over the last decade this agile Scandinavian band, which grew into a quintet with the addition of Swedish vibraphonist Mattias Ståhl in 2014, has quietly become one of the world’s most satisfying post-bop units, and on Bashing Mushrooms they sound stronger and more versatile than ever, drawing upon various templates from the 1960s with concision, tang, and cohesion that sounds as fresh any nearly anything I’ve heard in 2020. The group doesn’t hide the influence of folks like Eric Dolphy, who weighs heavily on the driving 'Go Greta', Ståhl’s salute to climate change activist Greta Thunberg, with the tune’s steep intervallic leaps, or the classic Miles Davis Quintet on reedist Atle Nymo’s moody, vaguely Arabic 'Horus Øye'. The group also includes the resourceful drummer Håkon Mjåset Johansen, trumpeter Magnus Broo and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten — the second two both key members of the long-running quintet Atomic — who excel on the high-velocity title track. As the band toggles between a machine gun-like unison staccato theme and a furiously swinging exposition, it’s distinguished by the former’s solo, which smears post-bop fundamentals with free jazz expressionism, and the latter’s imperturbable low-end drive. The most rewarding quality of I.P.A., however, is the intense interactive quality that imbues each tune, with arrangements that feature overlapping statements and sharply injected licks that propel the soloists, affirming the endless possibilities of a locked-in post-bop combo." – Peter Margasak / The Quietus
“Scandinavians have made an indelible mark on the progressive jazz front for the past several decades...Since 2007, Norwegian-based I.P.A. has been a major exponent of the fertile Euro jazz scene... this unit ups the ante by molding snippets of the past into a mode of attack, blotted by hyper-mode free bop and the frontline's sweltering solos and ricocheting horns arrangements.
From start to finish, the quintet abides by an action-packed gait amid a hodgepodge of stylistic formats. Hence, it's a group of many colors as they navigate through these works with rebel-rousing but cohesive exchanges and surging through difficult time signatures with the greatest of ease.” – Glenn Astarita / All About Jazz
After a dozen years as one of Europe’s most acclaimed jazz ensembles, I.P.A. is still discovering mesmerizing new sonic territory. Born out of a deep dive into the music of pioneering trumpeter/composer Don Cherry, the group has firmly established its own sound and identity, and Bashing Mushrooms reveals a striking new side of the quintet. A sumptuous aural feast marked by extended, circuitous melodies and spacious, finely etched textures, it is the group’s fifth album.
While the title might suggest psychedelic journeys, Bashing Mushrooms is a work of riveting clarity, with all of the thoughtful interaction and knife-edge balance between improvisation and composition that has long distinguished the group. The five musicians in I.P.A. have found kindred exploratory spirits in the band; with Bashing Mushrooms the quintet has found a sweet spot where the confidence that comes with maturity meets the boldness informed by experience.
“We all had this calm, relaxed feeling during the session, and that helped it go in that loose direction,” Nymo says. “Even though there are high energy parts there’s sort of a calmness to it. We have been playing for a lot of years, and even though it’s new material it’s a continuation of what we’ve been doing. Playing so much in the past together is really paying off, and I think you can hear how this music came together in a natural way.”
While a dire fantasia—a nightmare future Earth where only Antarctica remains habitable—looms over these eight instrumentals, Talibam!’s impulse is to throw a spiked Slurpee party at the end of the world. Bandcamp Album of the Day Oct 4, 2017