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Sagor & Swing - Allt Hänger Samman

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Artist: Sagor & Swing

Album: Allt Hänger Samman

Label: Hapna

Review date: Oct. 30, 2003

An unquestionably and uniquely Scandinavian experience, Sagor & Swing, continue their love affair with their native Sweden’s idyllic countryside on this their third album. Employing only Hammond organ and drums, played by Eric Malmberg and Ulf Möller respectively, they manage to summon up the forests, mountains and lakes of their homeland and enable the listener to share in the journey. Eschewing words for the simplest of melodies, an almost baroque sounding organ accompanied by light percussive flourishes provide enough space for the mind to paint its own pictures of imagined and unimaginable places (why stop at Stockholm?).

This is timeless, tranquil spiritual music, which recalls both the holy minimalism of Arvo Pärt and the English esotericism of Current 93. But there is something a little more, dare I say it, fun, about Sagor & Swing. This is ably demonstrated by the inappropriately titled but quite magnificent, “Alla Sagor Har Ett Slut”, which also appeared on the compilation given away with the October issue of The Wire. While obviously a product of isolation from the hustle and bustle of modern living, this isn’t music just for hermits. Indeed, it wouldn’t be considered a social faux pas if this stumbled onto your stereo as part of the soundtrack for your next evening of trivial pursuit/Play Station/X Box. The unfair, and unwise, could dismiss this as the only rightful place for Sagor & Swing – as mere background music. But that would be totally missing the point. It is this naïve simplicity and etherealness that lies at the very heart of their sound world, a reinvention of Swedish myth and an exhumation of traditional folk traditions (albeit a very unique take on them), which enhances the listening environment in the way any good ambient music should.

Allt Hänger Samman won’t be the easiest album to find, but I heartily suggest that the effort is more than worth it. At a time when lazy purveyors of even the most “alternative” sounds can easily be bracketed into easy classification, Sagor & Swing are striking out on a truly independent trajectory. If you are expecting a revolution in sound you won’t find it, this is strictly back-to-basics music, but here lies heartfelt and sincere melody, totally unconcerned by fickle fashion

By Spencer Grady

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