Marcello Nardi reviews the new Thor De Force album:
What I love about Thor de Force, nickname of Chicago born, Danish resident guitarist Thor Madsen, is how he mixes hip-hop roots with jazz through the lens of a masterful studio producer, in a completely unique way. There’s an highly crafted work in balancing each nuance, in blinking an eye to latest revival of big synths as well as to Curtis Mayfield, from electric jazz to catchy hip hop. Elegantly refined music, ‘world’ in a certain sense, like in his latest release The Build.
Following up his Sound of the Mansion, which marked his first release on Ropeadope, Thor de Force now focuses more on funky roots, yet keeping the same organization in producing his tunes. Sketched vamps, that might not evolve in anything but a self reflection or hint to a song with occasional choruses. Take Undo I, a track that feeds in that kind of mesh up of jazz that musicians like Makaya McCraven and Jeff Parker among the others are looking at. Still Thor de Force wants to look at it from the angle of something in between the pure song and the vamp. Or similarly take the languid Essence Omnipresence. Between juicy wah-wahs and Wurlitzer intermissions, it’s always a pleasure to listen to the arrangements interacting with the congas of Mads Michelsen and the drums of Abdullah S, like in New Stella.
I started writing material for the new album around Christmas of 2018 just after finishing Sounds Of The Mansion. I put more emphasis on the writing process before recording live instruments and decking out the tracks than was my usual practice. Compositional and sonic clarity was a main focus says Thor de Force. And that kind of immediacy is palpable in The Build.