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Sagor & Swing - Orgelplaneten

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Artist: Sagor & Swing

Album: Orgelplaneten

Label: Hapna

Review date: Jun. 13, 2004

Bless these Swedes. The musical poise and intricacies of organist Eric Malmberg and drummer Ulf Möller (collectively known as Sagor & Swing)have always reflected a delicate perception of their natural surroundings, as well as an almost ecclesiastical reverence for the native folk traditions of their homeland.

In the past, the slowly measured strains of their work have reflected the darker hollows of nature – pictorial musings on primordial forces both transcendental and slightly terrifying. One may even imagine re-editing the early films of legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman with the bewitching sounds of the duo's earlier works.

Having been so successful at threading the harmonic textures of experimental and ambient music with the more austere folk heritage of their native Sweden, Orgelplaneten finds Sagor & Swing expanding their instrumentation beyond the usual Hammond organ/drums framework to include some pretty jaunty Moog-driven adventures. The new textures seem to have brought playfulness to the fore.

The percussive thrust of "8-biterspolskan," with its heavily filtered snare blasts, recalls the glories of krautrock past, while elsewhere, nimble waltzes could easily be re-orchestrated as Scandinavian metal opuses. A garage vibe is also present on many of the tracks; bluesy flourishes occasionally punctuate the spry bounce of the organ runs. The most charming aspects of the record, as evidenced by the song "Distro," occur when the sheer catchiness of the melodies overrides any semblance of self-conscious technical consideration. Orgelplaneten, at its core, is simply a good time: toes will tap, even as the duo's sorcery draws the listener further into panoramic vistas of imagination.

Sadly, it appears that this will be the final Sagor & Swing album, but it’s wonderful that they choose to end things on such a high-spirited note. With its glamorous sprinkling of pop and R&B textures, Sagor & Swing have turned out an enigmatic and excellent album.

By Casey Rae-Hunter

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