If it weren't for a limited edition of a 2002 live set recorded in Stockholm, this would be the debut recording by this trio comprised of reed player Ken Vandermark, his longtime cohort Nate McBride on bass, and a more recent acquaintance, Paal Nilssen-Love, on drums. The session is divided in four epic parts that could also be divided into smaller segments considering the variety of moods, melodies, and tempos that are often dictated by Vandermark switching to a different instrument. The saxophonist/clarinetist is generally associated to the unbridled school of free jazz, but on this occasion Vandermark often sounds relaxed and mellow. The tradeoff is an occasional lack of focus which results in some meanderings, a pitfall that musicians can have difficulty to avoid when throwing themselves into such long improvised pieces. Musicianship is not at fault though. McBride's round and woody bass lays a sound foundation and Nilssen-Love once again accomplishes the feat of never repeating himself. It's just that the music lacks the intricate experiments of Vandermark's Territory Band, or the solid writing he has produced for School Days and the Vandermark 5. FME is a fine live band whose music does not make an entirely successful transition to the studio.
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AllMusic Review by Alain Drouot