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Dan Berglund Dan Berglund's Tonbruket Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Unique and unpredictable, and as a result highly memorable.

Colin Buttimer 2010

Dan Berglund is the former bass player in the highly successful Esbjörn Svensson Trio, whose career was tragically cut short by the death of its leader in 2008. Tonbruket is Berglund's debut as a solo recording artist. It's a strikingly confident and varied set that impresses with its original approach.

Sister Sad's guitars sound like an eastern Bill Frisell, all gentle chords, sliding notes and the sense of a questing spirit. A couple of minutes in, with an extended cymbal splash, the track comes alive – it’s as though the group has been rudely awoken from a pleasant dream. Despite the wailing guitar there's still something pensive and controlled about the music, even as it gets louder and more emphatic. After four-and-a-half minutes, energy spent, the listener is left with echoes ringing but feeling becalmed.

Sailor Waltz is a lengthy and strange affair that takes its time in unfolding an abstract, but engaging narrative. Though musically different, there are echoes of the leftfield eccentricity of Eivind Aarset's Spooky Danish Waltz and the Pat Metheny Group's Are You Going With Me?: all three are compositions that the listener has to settle into to get the most from.

Gi Hop is a wrench into something more upbeat. Its strange, stamping rhythm might be a long-lost cousin of a song by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra; there's a similar folk element too, courtesy of Martin Hederos' fiddle. The Wind and the Leaves begins in gentle acoustic guitar territory that might briefly be mistaken for a Nick Drake introduction, and expires gently.

Tonbruket's rhythms, courtesy of percussionist Andreas Werlin, are highly original, with an emphasis at odd moments that makes for a very unjazz-like impression. This is music with its own distinct character: each of the album's ten compositions is unique and unpredictable, and as a result highly memorable.

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