Bare chest and all
Magnus Öström comes back from tragedy with new group
Posted: October 23, 2013
Magnus Öström is back to support a new album called Searching For Jupiter.
The Swedish drummer Magnus Öström stands boldly alone on the cover of his 2012 debut album Thread of Life as a band leader, naked from the waist up, holding a cymbal on his side like a shield. He stands baring his chest but not as a challenge, rather it is a pose of vulnerability. It is one of the most unusual album covers for a jazz group ever. Thread of Life, for reasons that will be explained, was a somewhat dark and contemplative work.
He is back Oct. 27 at Agharta with a new album, Searching For Jupiter on ACT Records. These instrumental recordings are a bit more optimistic. "I don't think it's a very big difference. The time has passed so I've come to terms with life a bit more. The music might be a little more cheerful on Searching for Jupiter, but still you have the darker moods as well," Öström told The Prague Post.
Ostrum's band still includes electric guitarist Andreas Hourdakis, bass guitarist and trumpeter Thobias Gabrielson and pianist and synthesizer player Gustaf Karlöf. While they all have had jazz schooling and they've played with noted Swedish jazz musicians, Hourdakis started off playing hardcore punk, and Karlöf's other group is Niki & the Dove, an indie pop duo featuring female vocalist Malin Dahlstrom, on Seattle's Sub Pop Records.
This configuration is perfect for Öström's new musical explorations. "All of them have different backgrounds so they bring their own sound into the music. Andreas used to be a Metallica fan in his teens, Thobias is more of soul and funk guy and Daniel maybe more jazzy with plenty of energy so it's a good mix. We just try to make our own new music."
Magnus Öström Band
When: Oct. 27 at 8 and 10:15
Where: Agharta Jazz Centrum
Tickets: 400 Kč
Öström, born in 1965, recorded Thread of Life after a tragedy. He is the former drummer of E.S.T., short for Esbjorn Svensson Trio, a hugely popular Swedish progressive jazz trio led by pianist Svensson with Dan Berglund on double bass, and Öström on drums and percussion. Formed in 1993, the group hit its stride by the end of the 1990s.
E.S.T. was a compelling live act, and a live recording from November 2006 was released as e.s.t. live in hamburg as a testament to not only their musicianship, but their natural, telepathic understanding of the art of improvisation and live experimentation. It was named best jazz album of the decade by The London Times in November 2009.
Svensson, who was Öström's childhood friend, passed away in 2008 after a scuba-diving accident. Following a hiatus from music, Öström formed his own group. The Thread of Life was Öström's reaction to this new phase in his life, and still obviously grappling with the Svensson's death with tracks like "Ballad for E," "Hymn for the Past," and "Weight of Death," which are among the darker and yet most powerful in their execution. The darker tension and remorse on some of the compositions was expected as cathartic for Öström as well as for fans.
When he brought his band to Agharta Jazz Club last year, the show was a shocker for its intensity. Öström led his band as a new-born vocalist (or rather howler) with the younger, experimental rock-oriented players who pushed their jazz into a bold new stratosphere. By using his voice as an instrument and electronically altering it, the result is a harder modern rock sound or rather post-rock-jazz fusion.
Tony Ozuna can be reached at email@example.com
Tony Ozuna can be reached at