Saturday, 9 February 2019

RYMDEN, Reflections and Odysseys, 2019

Expectations are potential disappointments. The higher you fly in advance, the deeper you fall if you cannot get what you were looking for. Yet, how can you tame your inner monsters if you hear about an album from the collaboration of Bugge Wesseltoft, Dan Berglund and Magnus Öström. I could not. A trio composed of top notch Scandinavian musicians with a lot of historical milestones in their own careers... Add a subliminal Esbjörn Svensson effect to your perceptions. How can you stop thinking about Esbjörn when you listen to Dan and Magnus, while they are connecting this world’s rhythm to the heaven’s riffs. I could not. It was very far away from being difficult to give up thinking about my all expectations when I started to listen to Rymden's first album. 

Reflections & Odysseys is one of the most exciting albums I have listened to in recent years. It was already clear from the first seconds of the intro-track Reflections that I am listening to something really new and fresh. The way how the mysterious feelings given by double-bass in Reflection is connected to Odysseys’s clear phrases is verifying one of the most important KPIs in a trio format: Organic sound. The Peacemaker is a double-bass solo - a peaceful island - between Odyssey and electrical keys dominated Pitter-Patter. With this electrical feeling merged with Scandinavian dignified wording, I am swinging between Jazz Pa Svenska and Bitches Brew back and forth. 

The Luguburious Youth of Lucky Luke and The Celestial Dog and the Funeral Ship are the melancholic centre points of the album, with all instruments are set to their minimal contribution mode. The middle part of the “LYOLL” where the bass leads the main theme in the best possible way, the following rise in the tension triggered by piano and the incredible drum performance underneath everything are all priceless. I felt speechless and could not help myself thinking about old E.S.T. days. The backbone of “CDATP” is funeral drums. Dry and arrogant... The bass softens it. With naive actions from the piano added on top, the drum-set decides to leave this feeling for a while, for an incredible end to the piece. Bergen is obviously from Norwegian part of the band. It is like mountains in Bergen; lively, peaceful and cold... With its catchy main theme lead successfully by Bugge and improvisational parts, this piece looks like the locomotive piece of the album. Rak-The Abyss carries very familiar patterns for the followers of Magnus Öström. He connects his amazing solo -reminding the great stuff from Leucocyte- to the introduction of Rak. Rak starts with some tense feelings with a progressive rock influence and switches back and forth between this and a more jazzy electrical texture. Orbiting sounds like the piano-riff introduction of last piece Homegrown. That last bit is a very good final. It shows us once more that the music we are exposed to are played by musicians, who are among the bests on this planet. Homegrown flows very naturally and as the title implies, the main theme carries very warm home-like feelings.

Overall, you can expect a lot from Reflections & Odysseys if you have not listened to it yet. We all can expect more from Rymden as one of the current best bands of Nordic Jazz.