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Dungen - Stadsvandringar [Aka: Dungen 2] CD (album) cover



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3 stars This is the second release by DUNGEN and their first on CD. The first album was only released on vinyl (That's retro, as most with Dungen). Gustav Ejstes, the main man of DUNGEN, started his musical career as a rapper but changed direction after digging through his parents record collection consisting of Swedish 70s music.

Production-wise this is 21st century but musically it borrows heavily from the 70s. TRÄD, GRÄS OCH STENAR comes to mind while hearing it, as well as ARBETE & FRITID and BO HANSSON. Especially the last track, "Krona" (Crown) could have been included on Hanssons Lord Of The Rings. All the songs are of pop-song length, the longest of them clocking in at four minutes. Nothing stretch out longer than needed. With hippie "Going Up The Country"-lyrics this sounds more of the psychedelic era of the late 60s than the 70s progressive era. Notable tracks include the two instrumentals "Sol och regn" (Sun and Rain) and "Krona". Some others are "Stadsvandringar" (City walks) and "Solen stiger upp Del 1 & Del 2" (The Sun is Rising Part 1 & Part 2).

All in all a nice little record, perhaps without mindblowing epics but perfectly in the spirit of Swedish 70s partly progressive Movement.

Report this review (#115700)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars This record is more folksy then their break through follow up "Ta Det Lugnt". It doesn't have that same edge to it, and Reine Fiske's great guitar work is less evident. I really like this record, especially the first half.

"Stradvandringar" is such an addicting song, the kind that will play in your head long after the record is over. It's light, fun and catchy and can change a mood very quickly. "Har Du Vart I Stockholm ?" is great ! With mellotron throughout and it's also a real toe tapper. "Solen Stiger Upp 1&2" is the third good one in a row. Some beautiful flute melodies in this one and the drums are more out in front. The guitar comes and goes."Over Stock Och Sten" is more uptempo and the organ is a nice touch later in the song. This is a nice warm flowing song.

"Sol Och Regn" is an instrumental with violin that is joined by flute creating a folksy feel, some atmospheric guitar to end it. "Fest" is a little more abrasive as drums and vocals are more emphatic. Violin is in the background and it all ends with a bombastic sing a long. "Natten Blir Dag" is a mellow tune with keys and organ. Good song. "Andra Sidan Sjon" is a tasteful song with guitar in the background. Flute to end it. "Stradsvandring" is a short reprise of opening song. "Vem Vaktar Lejonen" has a 60's sounding rhythm section. Some powerful guitar and organ. "Krona" is an instrumental with light drums and guitar.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are those who would prefer this one to "Ta Det Lugnt". There is a lot to like about this one but I feel it's not quite as good, but still recommended.

Report this review (#117354)
Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Another Dungen album that dives deep way back into the 60's, playing a credible psych rock if it wasn't for the fact that's sung in Swedish. Generally the retro-rock/prog applies for 70's soundscapes, but Dungen manages it for the 60's, but by doing so, they have to imitate a rather skimpy 60's sound that with today's technology and support, it sounds a bit awkward.

Based on 11 short songs, and starting on the title track with its Rickenbacker-jangle sound, the album offers a series of short hummable (at least for the Swedes) summer ditties with plenty of joy to live (unlike the many doomy melancholic more prog Swedish groups. So most of the tunes (I think using the word for these tracks is correct in this case) are happy-go-lucky tightly-written songs that do not allow much fantasy. The exceptions immediately leading to your attention being drawn to it, like the second part Solen Stigger Upp, both parts adding up only to 4 minutes or the more complex Fest. An almost-jig track Sot Och Regn is a folky instrumental that is easily the album's highlight, again mostly because the impeccable musicianship of the group, which makes all the more infuriating why they don't explore in that instrumental direction.

The only real puzzle is Reine Fisk's presence in this group, as we'd expect him in more melancholic Paatos or Landberk. Indeed his immediately re cognizable guitar sounds, doesn't seem to have the space to move out of the allotted place it was given. Some more Floyd-esque track, like the closing Krona give a bit more depth to an album that could qualify easily as progressive retro pop, if it wasn't for that little extra that transform pop into rock. Nothing worth writing home about, this gentle retro prog pop should please most who don't necessarily await full prog clichés.

Report this review (#192428)
Posted Tuesday, December 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Music from the 2000s sounding like a time machine back to the 1960s. Some early Floyd, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Kevin Ayers, Pretty Things, Soft Machine, Syd Barrett, fuzz guitar work a la Harvey Mandel and prog.rock band Landberk. The aforementioned is the kind of fusion Dungen have cooked up. It doesn't sound _retro_ either. In fact, this recording is so convincing it sounds like a re-issue straight out of the '60s. Nothing short of brilliant is the instrumental _Sol Och Regn_. Very sixties and very far-out! Don't expect anything like Reine Fiske's other projects like Landberk, Paatos or Morte Macabre. This music is firmly in the indie-rock mode. People who appreciate bands like Sundial, The Bevis Frond or Sebadoh would appreciate the Dungen creations. As mentioned, the title track _Stadsvandringar_ is very catchy and is a definite mood changer(great beach music!). Vocals are in Swedish. Good place to start with Dungen as they get better with each subsequent release.
Report this review (#204029)
Posted Sunday, February 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
4 stars 4 o clock in the summer morning watching the sunrise.

For some reason this album by the Swedish kings of psychedelic rock revival is rated the lowest on PA. Personally I find it to be a hidden gem in their discography, and while that very well may be down to me understanding the lingo, and the fact that a lot of this album sets scene in a Scandinavian capital filled to the brim with urban delights, flickering sunshine when the summer calls us out to the ocean, and something that a lot of we Northeners share, which is a similar sense of humour and that secret knowledge of what sitting at an empty shoreline at 4 in the morning watching the sky appear in orangy colours - drinking beers, talking about life, people, music and the finer things in life, - what such a thing can bring with it............While that very well may be, I still believe most PA people would dig this big time. I know of at least one American dude who has caught the bug, and inside a time frame of 2 weeks, he'd purchased every album of theirs(here's looking at you Steve).

Anyway back to that bond between us Scandinavians and our mutual adoration of the sparse summer days we get; maybe that is the key to an album that otherwise appears a little too straightforward to the average prog rock dude. I mean 11 cuts, and not a single long piece to scratch that ever so fleeting itch...?! Hold your horses though, because this album absolutely positively smokes! Why? Every song is brilliantly performed, the song writing is inspired, and you do get a lot of different moods wandering freely around a certain psychedelic core, which has always been the centre of attention in Dungen's music. Sure, they sound like they just stepped off the ol Delorian, after having spent the latter half of the sixties jamming together, they zoom straight into a modern studio and deliver the feel, energy and everything passionate and vibrant from the age of beards, - but what's not to like about that image?

While many of the tracks in fact are featured on their debut album, all of it seems new and infinitely more 'together' - at least sound wise. The production skills went up a notch, but only to the point of now being better able to distinguish the instruments from each other, and a certain bigness to some of the arrangements that include windswept flute journeys riding on top of some of the most alluring balladry psych music known to mankind - taking this listener back to Caravan's Love Song With Flute and KC's classic I Talk to the Wind. Beautiful................. Speaking of those two cuts, then imagine the feel and vibe of the production, and then transport it into a psychedelic rock n folk band that oozes early urban summer vibes.

Summer is pretty close to being omnipresent in Dungen's lyrics and music. The freedom it brings - the light - the way it opens up the city, makes it blossom with thousands of people who look like they've been waiting for the occasion for years on end. The feel of wandering through the streets bathed in sunlight or perhaps sitting by the stillness of the lake wearing only a pair of jeans - with the wind softly sipping through your hair.

There are many high points on Stadsvandringar(city wanderings), and I particularly dig the obvious sing-a-long song Har Du Vart' I Stockholm, that also includes some rather beautiful and airy synths at the tail end of the chorus................... I love the rocking groove of Över Stock och Sten, which quite aptly translates into over stock and stone........................ I love the earthiness and timbre of Fredrik Björling's fantastic rumbling drumming,................ I love the breezy character of Ejste's early morning vocals that sound like yearning and care-freeness all at once.

Hang on - what about the sitars, the gentle congas and that genuine Rickenbacker bass sound that tears up trees from the ground by their roots? What about Reine Fiske, - a man I personally consider to be one of the finest guitarists of the past two decades? This guy is remarkable, and as I've said so many a times, I really do consider him to be the perfect splicing of Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour - only with a soul of his own - one that fumbles around in folk, strange atmospheric post rock gestures, a slide technique that truly sounds like shooting stars in olive oil. Lastly you get the genius of his wild spiralling solos, that on Stadsvandringar do tend to be short and somewhat restrained. Even so, when he breaks loose from the foundation of things, he can bring down buildings and woo women like there was no tomorrow.

I can't choose which part of the equation I like the best actually....

If you enjoy the sounds of the late sixties, early 70s, and feel comfortable enough with your manhood, back yard and former council man - to try out other spoken languages than the English, then you should track down a Dungen album as soon as possible. Many have tried to re-erect the greatness and pomp of the classic psychedelic rock explosion, and many have failed because of misconceptions about what constitutes warm and vibrant sound production, - yet with Dungen everything seems to have come together beautifully.

This album lacks some of the soon to come fusion bridges, Dungen would implement in their music the subsequent years(and actually still do), but the raw emotive power of the playing here trumps any need for those in my honest opinion. As much as I love that aspect of latter day Dungen, I feel it'd be unnecessary for this one. There's a charm, a smile and a certain twinkle in it's eye, - something that makes it one of my personal faves from the band.

Take this one with you down to the beach and experience the soundtrack of summer. 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#928810)
Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars My relation to Dungen is not a very strong one. I first found out about them in High School when they performed their song "Panda" on Late Night With Conan O' Brien, and thought that it had a nice Hendrix/Zeppelin feel and also that it was very interesting that a Swedish band would be so bold as to try and make a career overseas, while singing in their own mother tounge. Later on, while carousing the record store, i found this CD and decided to pick it up although i had never heard it before. I was thinking that if "Panda" was a good example of their sound then it cant be bad, right?

Well, yes and no. According to the band, the reason why they decided to focus on a foreign market was because back in Sweden, they were constantly branded as a "Progg" band. Thats right, "Progg" not "Prog". If you have talked with any Swedish Progheads on this site, then you probably know what that means, but if you dont then here is a short description: "Progg" wich is short for "Proggressiva Musikrörelsen" ("The Progressive Musicmovement") was a musical phenomen in the late 60's and early to mid 70's in Sweden, wich can best be described as a sort of delayed Hippie movement. The original idea was to hold festivals and in other ways promote alternative and uncommercial music, but in the bigger picture it tied in with the general left wing social struggles of that time. The music that the "Progg" bands played was diverse, ranging from Reagge to Pop and yes, even real Progressive Rock! (Samla Mammas Manna was considered to be a part of the "Progg" movement, for example.) However, standard Rock was the most common. If we can return to Dungen for awhile then i must say that i am not surprised that they got that brand from the media atleast at this stage in their career, because this is real "Hippie music"! There aint necessarily anything wrong with that, but this album feels toothless. Reine Fiskes amazing guitar talents are seriously underused, except in the track "Vem Vaktar Lejonen?" ("Who Guards The Lions?") wich has a riff that reminds of the one in the Lenny White song "The Great Pyramid". Awesome, in other words. Unfortunately the 9 tracks before it except for "Fest" ("Party") and "Över Stock Och Sten" ("Over Log and Rock") just dont do it for me. There is way to much Organ, Flute and Violin and too little Guitar for my taste. Gustaf Estjes is a fantastically talented multi-instrumentalist and at the best times the music reminds me of Phish crossed with Jethro Tull, but in the very worst times it reminds me of two bit Indie Rock, wich is a shame when i know that these guys can do better.

The lyrics are also incredibly cheesy with nearly all of them dealing with Summer, Birds, Flowers, Being at one with nature etc, etc. This is something that was fixed on the following album aswell.

This is quite a pleasant little trip, but for the real Psychedelic ROCK album, i recommend the one after this.

Report this review (#955562)
Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013 | Review Permalink

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