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Den Gåtfulla Människan

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Album Review

Fans of Sagor & Swing will feel right at home with this first solo release from their organist, Eric Malmberg. After all, Malmberg was writing all of the repertoire of that organ/drums duo. So Den Gåtfulla Människan simply sounds like Sagor & Swing minus the drums — plus an occasional beatbox that doesn't have the pastoral charm of Ulf Möller's drumming, but does the timekeeping job. The music comes back to the dreamy pastures featured on Allt Hänger Samman: atmospheric rippling chords, mood-setting organ effects, aerial melodies eventually appearing out of the fog. Malmberg's music always seems effortless, themes passing by as naturally as possible, different from one another yet so unmistakably Malmberg-esque. Sagor & Swing's third CD was showing signs that the organist wanted to break free from the short tune format to explore more epic durations, as it took the form of a suite of segued tunes. The experiment had been cut short with the unpredictably cheerful Orgelplaneten, the group's swan song. On Den Gåtfulla Människan, Malmberg comes back to it. The eight tracks on the CD actually form two 20-minute suites of very nice stature. These are less like sequences of seguing pieces and more like long compositions in several movements, themes fading in and out as organ textures shift, which reinforces the impression of being carried through a Scandinavian daydream. Malmberg does miracles with his Hammond organ, squeezing the most singular sounds out of it, along with some beautiful tones. The breadth of these pieces will attract comparisons to Bo Hansson and, truth be told, Malmberg's music here takes a few steps toward instrumental space/progressive music, gradually reducing the importance of the melodies in favor of more intricate arrangements and structures. The end result is stronger than Allt Hänger Samman and promises a bright organ-drenched future for fans of Malmberg's defunct group. Recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: Sweden

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

An idiosyncratic indie pop keyboardist whose trippy, reverb-laced Hammond organ-dominated compositions drew comparisons to the work of Hansson & Karlsson, Eric Malmberg gained recognition in the Swedish indie scene of the early 2000s both as a solo artist and as one half of the instrumental indie pop duo Sagor & Swing. He released his first album, Professor Huberts Underbara Uppfinning, in 1995 and went on to release two more albums during his stint in Sagor & Swing: 2000's Sju Melodier...
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Den Gåtfulla Människan, Eric Malmberg
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