Jurmo – “Gnistor, irrbloss 1:2”

January 30, 2017 at 6:31 pm


It’s exciting with music that is searching more or less actively for what it really is. That is how I perceive this album, not as if it has an identity problem, but rather like if it is trying new ways in a playful and fascinating manner. “Gnistor, irrbloss” is music for a wind quartet (mostly brass), percussion and a voice (Nicolai Dunger), who alternately improvise, sound and play compositions which sometimes just are, sometimes are pop-melodic and sometimes are fragmentary. This search also makes it hard to categorize. Sometimes it sounds like jazz, but it’s also art music and pop. “Gnistor…” is the first album of two made in this way.

The founder is Johan Arrias, who gathered the musicians playing on the album, and he also writes that the record is “a mixture of ready-mades, poetry, songs, sounds and sketches”. This makes the album appear like an art gallery or maybe like a part of an art gallery. In any case, I get quite curious about the continuation.

Sista striden

Reglerna och leken
Johan Arrias’ site – on Spotify – on Apple Music – on Bandcamp

Ullén-deHeney-Hug – “Quarrtsiluni”

November 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm


Quarrtsiluni is a word in Inuit which roughly means that you are quietly sitting together waiting for something to happen. You may listen to this album in that way, but I do think that it’s rather eventful. There are six tracks which are titled only with numbers: Song one, two, three.. and so on. Each song or track is an improvisation with the starting point in the feeling of just sitting together and the sensation that something has to be said, something necessary. Maybe the spirit of the great whale is among us in the music, as they write on the label Lamour records.

Lisa Ullén on piano and Nina de Heney on double bass have been playing together for a long time and they are a well established duo. On “Quarrtsiluni” they are also joined by Swiss Charlotte Hug on alto violin.

Read more here and listen to the entire album in one session in the Youtube clip below, or sample one of the tracks in the Soundcloud player.

More about Lisa Ullén | Nina de Heney | Charlotte Hug

“Quarrtsiluni” on Spotifyon Apple Music

Mats Almgren – “Mats Almgren Sings Billy Eckstine” album

March 30, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Mats Almgren

Normally we can hear Mats Almgren’s deep bass voice on the opera scene, often in a Wagner play. Here he’s thrown himself into a completely different context, though, by recording a collection of jazz standards, written in the 30’s and later. For the first time in nearly 20 years he also gets to collaborate with his two brothers, the jazz musicians Owe och Björn Almgren.

The combination of opera and jazz is hardly new; George Gerschwin proved that it works perfectly in “Porgy and Bess”. Still, many are sceptical when operasingers get into jazz, pop or rock, as we’ve heard some failed attempts from famous opera stars. Mats Almgren knows what he’s doing, though. He chose to look at crooner Billy Eckstine’s repertoire, a song collection which fits him quite well as Eckstine also had a deep and powerful voice, making the songs’ keys perfect for Almgren. Eckstine also had some operatic tendencies in his vocals when he sang, and had the power to be heard over an orchestra without a microphone, just like an opera singer.

Almgren creates his very own style from this, though. He breaks free from the opera’s precision very smoothly when he glides over the tones in a most natural way. He’s got a wonderful feeling for the material as he shows a dynamic in the songs where every word and sentence is filled with its own character and meaning. I think the most emotional songs are the slowest ones, like the starting “My Foolish Heart”, but there are no weak tracks here. Behind him is a band of skilled jazz musicians, who also get some space for their cool, inspired jazz, which makes the album feel even more vibrant. You hear his brothers Owe and Björn on bass and saxophone respectively, and also Sven-Eric ”Svenna” Dahlberg on piano and Göran Kroon on drums. Here are three songs from the album:

Mats Almgren on Spotifyon Apple Music

Cosima – “Head In the Clouds” EP

June 25, 2015 at 3:14 pm


Last year I was fascinated by her voice when I wrote about Lilla Milo and presented soul songs that have etched themselves into my mind. Now Cosima Lamberth focuses on her soul career and has released her debut EP “Head In the Clouds” with four songs during June.

I think it’s an exquisite record with tracks that each one has it’s own character and where Cosima gets to show her vocal range as a soul singer. She can be impulsive as in “Still I Know” where she pulls out the last breath of each phrase and delivers them with an inescapable urgency , or she can expose a naked voice without anything that dims the path to your inner emotions as in the longing, neo soul vibing “Come Back”.

The arrangements are also wonderful, filled with jazz drenched harmonies which vary between the dreamy to the slight melancholic. It feels warm, organic and radiates retro vibes as well as a breath of contemporary, creative soul. Listen here to two of the songs from the EP:

Cosima on Facebookon Spotify

Lerin/Hystad – “Ametarasu”

March 6, 2015 at 2:29 pm


Last year I wrote about the Norwegian/Swedish duo Lerin/Hystad and their album “Mount Buzhou“. There they combined their instrumental music with traditional chinese music, including field recordings from a large music summit in China. On the new album they have crossed the water and gone to Japan to get their inspiration.

Like before they have sampled field recordings in the tracks, but this time taken from arcade halls and subway stations in Tokyo and Osaka. This is mixed with vibes of traditional japanese music, jazz, electronica, progressive and experimental rock. It all becomes a fascinating melting pot where the past meets the present, east meets west, the finetuned organic meets the hard, machinelike. It can coexist at one time and in the next moment the other aspect takes over. Well, it is a bit like I can imagine what Japan is like with it’s deep roots in their own traditions living side by side with the modern society and the influence from the western world. An album with an amazing creativity, abundance of details and a large span of music. Here are two songs:

Lerin/Hystad on Facebookon Spotifyon Bandcamp

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