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Eric Malmberg - Verklighet & Beat CD (album) cover

VERKLIGHET & BEAT

Eric Malmberg

 

Progressive Electronic

4.05 | 3 ratings

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Guldbamsen
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Site and Forum Admin
4 stars Reality & Beat

This album has been one of my favourite companions during my daily bike ride to work through the past 4 months. Seeing the first shimmers of light escaping the edge of the horizon - spreading golden twinkles in the frost filled grass around me, whilst this music is humming gently inside my head, - now that is one beautiful way of starting the day.

I bought this album when it first came out, and it was only recently I looked Eric Malmberg up here on PA - much surprised to see him filed under the electronic moniker, but then again I'd have some difficulties myself deciding where to put this kind of music, as it is far from your everyday easy to box in bang tika bang bang. No, Verklighet & Beat encompasses many different musical facets, but the one sitting closest to the core of it all - the life blood of the project, - is actually the Hammond organ and the authentic vintage feel this thing gives off. Vintage is the key word here, and well electronic music is no outsider to a trip down memory lane. I believe the story goes something like this: Malmberg once worked as a cartoonist for a Swedish newspaper called Dagens Nyheter. Back in 2000 he drew a strip that was named Hansson & Karlsson i världsrymden (Hansson & Karlsson in outer space). This Hansson was in fact the same guy, who made several exquisite progressive outings during the 70s such as Lord of the Rings, The Magician's Hat and Attic Thoughts. The very Hammond organ Hansson used on Lord of the Rings is the same in play on this album. It was kindly given to Malmberg, and as I stated earlier, it is at the very heart of this recording.

There have been many Swedes heralding Malmberg as the natural successor of Bo Hansson, and yes there are obvious references in the smooth and effortless flow of this music, but I hear a distinct personality unfolding as well. That said, people with a hard on for Hansson's bubbly organ driven music, will surely be well satisfied to hear this album. There is a bond between these artists - not as much in direct plagiarism but in sheer soul, passion and feel for the organ. Imagine this wonderful mix of the former Swedish organ wizard and David Axelrod. Then pop it in the blender together with a pretty original way of looking at melodies and rhythm structures, and then we're cooking. The David Axelrod glimpses I catch in Verklighet & Beat are those moments when the organs mimic big grandiose symphony orchestras and grow to enormous star castles of fantastic pompous music - all kept together and flowing like the most groovy of gravies with some spectacular syncopated drum work. It's bombastic and retro like you wouldn't believe, but man it's good!

One of my favourite things about this album is those drums. They emanate this classic wooden sound, that I honestly thought had died some years ago - withered away in the annals of rock music. It's the same sort of feel you get from a late Motown production job, where the rhythm based instruments filled the room in a very assertive and organic way, that is just as funky and earthy as it is unique, round and natural. Anyway this album is filled to the brim with this kind of sound and playing, and to a drummer like myself - this is just heaven! In fact, I think all of this album is astoundingly well put together. The production of the thing brings back those good old times, that you forget it was released in 2009. What?!

Another aspect of this record, and the man behind it, is something a bit more serious. Eric Malmberg is autistic. A little while back he appeared in a documentary about Swedish artists with these creative illnesses. What I get from such an information - other than he has to struggle in every day life, just like the rest of us, yet in a completely different way, - is that he projects all of his emotion and skill into his music - and in a way that is audible to us in the audience. I caught a snippet of him talking about his relationship with the Hammond organ, and it almost brought a tear to my eye, - not because I felt sorry for him or anything like that, but because I felt this man in his music - and I felt the way he talked about this instrument in the manner in which he wields it. He is such a powerful player.

If you feel like dropping back to the very start of the 70s with some mellow, beautiful, soaring, bombastic, floating, honey-dripping, engulfing, fulfilling, warm, heartfelt, sweet and melodic music that takes you places only known to but a few majestic sky gliders, then give this brilliant Swede a chance. He is truly worth a flight.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |

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