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Dungen - Skit I Allt CD (album) cover



Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars I've only recently discovered Dungen but doing so has been one of my great pleasures of the last few months. Skit I Alt is a real gem of an album which sits at the proggier end of the SpaceRock/Psychedelia spectrum. The overall sound is very retro and more than a little reminiscent of the Canterbury scene. Mellotrons, organ, electric and acoustic guitars, that very dry, almost intimate production that I associate with the albums like "In The Land Of Grey And Pink" ? it definitely has that whimsical feel to it although all the lyrics are in Swedish so I haven't the foggiest idea what the songs are about, but then you could say the same about Yes.

The mood ranges from jazzy rock to psychedelic wig out (Hogdalstoppen ? track five ? is a good example of this) to pastoral fluffiness to glistening seventies style pop and the longest song is less than five minutes long although I suspect they may be longer in a live context as instrumental passages seem to hint at room for improvisation. The musicianship is superb, especially the lead guitar work which may not go in for much in the way of dive-bomb histrionics but is tasteful and imaginative. The bass playing is complex, funky (in a sixties way) and entirely appropriate, indeed one of things I love is the way that the playing and arrangements exist to serve the song rather than vice versa ? it really is a joy to listen to!

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Posted Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Retired Admin
4 stars Bringing it all back home

Over the years I´ve heard a lot of old school rockers talking about how precious and unique the sound was, back when the guys had long hair and took up knitting for fun, and what a pity it is that music just doesn´t sound like that any more. Well all I can say to you folks is, that you haven´t been looking in the right places, because this Swedish band have been making that kind of music ever since they hit the stage in 2001 with their wonderful debut album.

Dungen are a psychedelic folk rock band completely lost in the wrong decade, and how I just love em´! Sometimes I get very tired of the "prog" vs "progressive" discussions, and how we aren´t listening to one or the other because it isn´t one of either... Well just call me a stupid sucker that listens to music that makes me live to the fullest, smile, dance, juggle, woo women, eat fish and go snorkel diving in the Danish desert. Music should be whatever you want it to be, but don´t, whatever you do, slap stickers on the poor thing just so you can make a better fit for it in whatever black box.

This music simply feels free. An overwhelming feel of letting yourself go, taking a day off - opening the jail-cell doors for the first time in a decade - releasing a soft and magical phoenix of joy. I dare anyone to listen to Dungen without feeling happy. Even though the music also brings forth moments of melancholy, often through the flute or the occasional female backing vocals, the emphasis on freedom and that specific time in space once so long ago, where people walked around with flowers, and it meant something without being silly - yeah that is what´s going down here. Adding to these rather nostalgic images are the usage of hand claps, wah wah pedals, soaring vocal harmonies alongside some beautiful flute sections, which in the end will have you transported back to a field in Haight Ashbury - looking at topless chicks and people with stark black eyes.

Gustav Ejstes´ voice is something of a Dungen trademark. The somewhat ethereal aspect of this band oozes through in Gustav´s vocalizations and into the other guys, and makes both the guitars, piano and flute work sound breezy and fluid like they were melting upwards like butter with wings. Ejstes has a highly original way of wrapping his lips around the words. He sounds so lazy and smooth at the same time. He adds a distinct lazy afternoon charisma to the overall sound, as well as giving the band a slight jazzy touch - one that works so well within the multitude of different styles on offer here. Playing a mean piano as well, I honestly think the notes from said instrument slowly and quite spontaneously over the years have seeped into his vocals, because what he really sounds like, when I close my eyes, is the light minor chords of a piano.

There´s no getting around him and why should I, as Reine Fiske without a doubt is my current favourite guitarist. I love his playing like I love sunlight. He sounds like the perfect combination of David Gilmour and Jimi Hendrix, and to me personally - praise just doesn´t get any higher than that. In Dungen he operates on many different levels. Playing sluggish rhythm sections with a careless attachment to the riffing that opens up the music and cuts of the rough edges. I think much of modern rock music revolves around clockwork timers, and what that really does, is adding an anodyne and clinical coating to something that´s supposed to be heartfelt and warm. Fiske is all over the place in whatever he does, and that seeps into the drums. Thankfully I say! Again, this is part of what makes this band so freaking fantastic! The feel is naive and not because they couldn´t be bothered to do the 5th take to get everything in check and all lined up to the nearest millimetre, but because they purposely seek that in the music, - and when Fiske whips out his guitar in full attack mode, the mountains fall down and everything stands on end. Talk about goosebumps city! A brilliant little instrumental track from this album, which will perfectly explain what I´m raving about, is Högdalstoppen. It consists of a beautiful piano driven melody that reinforces itself with the earthiness of the bass and loosely played drums - catapulting itself over that Högdalstop with a ferocious and firebreathing guitar solo wobbling through the music. Everything that Dungen stands for is right here in this track.

Skit I Allt is Dungen´s 6th and most recent album, and I can´t think of anything remotely offensive to say about it. In fact I would have a hard time saying that about any of the preceding ones as well. Maybe that´s because I am a big fan and drool uncontrollably every time I get within 2 feet of their records, but I´d like to think that these guys in some magical and forbidden way, have created a modern day counterpart to some of the biggest artists of the 60s. It is very rare that I fall head over heels for both the song writing and the psychedelic nature of the music, because very oftenly those 2 factors have a tendency to weed out each other, but just as The Beatles and The Pretty Things were able to bring these elements together in an elegant and impeccable way - Dungen now have safely brought back the dormant spark and lit up the long and winding road - once lit by stars that everyone could spot in a jiffy.

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Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permalink

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