Feb 5 2013
The premise of the Milder PS album Quoted Out Of Context is a reinterpretation of the music of Prefab Sprout’s Paddy McAloon. The result is a set of lovely Nordic Jazz that is sometimes sublime, sometimes breathtaking.
Milder PS brings a pop music sensibility to the album, reflected primarily through the lovely melodies. The harmonic conventions, however, are textured in a way that imbues the music with a sweeping grandeur, while maintaining a calm presence. It’s not unlike big ideas spoken in a quiet voice.
Your album personnel: Joakim Milder (tenor, soprano sax), Nils-Olav Johansen (guitar), Johannes Lundberg (bass), Lisbeth Diers (drums, percussion, voice), and guests: Gunnar Halle (trumpet), David Byström (trombone), and the Sjöströmska String Quartet.
Some of the tracks, like “Couldn’t Bear to Be Special” thankfully disposes of the theatrical flairs of the original, keeping things more restrained. The ensemble also makes wise decisions on when to keep pretty close to the originals, like on “Doo Wop in Harlem” and its languorous sway, and “Anne Marie” with the pleasing use of orchestral accompaniment, balanced by a nifty guitar-bass pairing (Johansen and Lundberg, respectively). “Jesse James Bolero” mimics the rhythm of the original for a gratifying result.
As the album proceeds, so too does its inclinations to the dramatic. Strings become more prominent, and harmonies more turbulent. “I Trawl the Megahurtz” is a landscape of windswept snow drifts… a beauty in shifting harmonies and peaceful moments interrupted by Diers’ cymbal washes, strings, and Milder’s slow wailing saxophone.
“Dragons” is a nice ambling tune, a pace instilled with some simple, yet effective percussion for soprano sax to meander atop of, whereas”Nightingales” is an anxious ballad, buffeted up by heavy infusion of strings. And “God Watches Over You” burgeons with dramatic tension sourcing from several directions. Drums rattle incessantly, strings ripple upward and out, soprano sax ascends slowly, powerfully, and Halle’s trumpet soars ever upward as bass spastically drives ahead.
Just a beautiful little recording, and one that might’ve slipped past under my radar if not for a little luck.
Released on the Apart Records label.
Jazz from the Stockholm, Sweden scene.