Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dan Berglund's Tonbrunket

Dan Berglund (bass)
Tonbrunket (ACT Music)

Dan Berglund starts his solo career after a decade in the highly influential Swedish trio E.S.T. (Esbjorn Svensson Trio). The untimely death of his close friend and co-founder Esbjorn Svensson obviously still has a profound effect on him and it shows in his new quartet Tonbrunket (Swedish expression for factory).

Tonbrunket is an album that is definitely different from what Berglund did with E.S.T. It is an album fueled by jazz, folk and rock experiences of its members. The album is calmer and more ethereal all around than most E.S.T. outing as well. The band's catalyst may actually be Johan Lindstrom (guitar) who's dreamscapes on guitar seems to meld perfectly with Berglund's always impressive and adventurous use of distortion on bass. The aforementioned fuel of the album is very apparent on the opener "Sister Sad" in which Lindstrom sets the tone for the entire session with some powerful atmospherics that for me are reminiscent of Michael Brook, Pink Floyd and Bill Frisell.

Tonbrunket moves so freely between the genres that you at times almost forget its essentially a jazz album. "Salior Waltz" is where Berglund shows his uncanny beauty over the bass accompanied by Martin Hederos on piano. It is a piece that will have the listener encompassed in its subtle emotional warmth and elegance. The album does have its big cacophonous moments driven by Lindstrom and drummer Andreas Werliin (the tracks like "Stethoscsope", "Monstrous Colossus" and "Gi Hop") but these are welcomed and fit marvelously within the mellow, bluesy and folksy jazz oriented pieces. "Wolverine Hoods" is another track that breaks for tradition sounding almost like an instrumental from a Mazzy Star or Opal album with hazy effects and trippy organ work from Hederos.

"Song For E", while most people who didn't know of E.S.T. will find it a lovely piece, its definitely emotionally gut-wrenching and a thoughtful tribute to his friend. Tonbrunket's closing tracks "Cold Blooded Music" and "Waltz For Matilda" are again both evocative and exploratory. The haunting percussion's, pedal effects and bass distortion leading the way of "Cold Blooded Music" into the journeys end with a smoothly and gentle return under the guidance of Berglund and Lindstrom's almost alt-country ballad magic of "Waltz For Matilda".

For those who are E.S.T. fans like myself its has been a difficult year and a half to reconcile not hearing any new E.S.T. music ever again but trust me Dan Berglund's Tonbrunket is a great way to start a new chapter for us. This is album of year quality hands down. If you've never even heard E.S.T. don't worry you can start here and work your way backwards if you like--you will be satisfied.

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