New and same: Gustaf Ljunggren & Emil de Waal


What’s relevant is this:

There is a warmth and intimacy to this music that is positively intoxicating.

That’s what I wrote about previous collaborations between Emil de Waal and Gustaf LjunggrenThe recorded gold from those sessions was some of the best music to be released during their respective years.  With pianist Søren Kjærgaard and clarinetist Elith “Nulle” Nykjær on board, the music breathed fresh vitality into a classic jazz sound.  It was everything jazz was and still could be.

For this 2018 session, it’s just the duo of de Waal and Ljunggren, and they go off in a very different direction.  Gone are the boisterous melodies and swinging tempos of New Orleans via Denmark.  Instead, the duo navigates a path that takes them through folk, electronica and indie-pop musics.  The duo runs the sing-song melody of “Skomakarskeppet” through a cyclical pattern that accentuates both its addictive and minimalist qualities.  There’s how the electric sizzle and pop of “Krathuset” is juxtaposed over a resolute drone, creating a tempo that is both lively and meditative.  “Strung Hi” has a countryside tranquility, as if sunlight settling in over wide open fields of green… an infusion of energy into a trance state.  It sounds nothing like what’s been featured previously from these two, and yet present throughout every moment of this lovely recording is that very same warmth and intimacy, and that same feeling of intoxication.

This duo has been collaborating for twenty years and counting.  Their new album is more reason to hope it never ends.

Your album personnel:  Emil de Waal (drums, percussion, electronic effects) and Gustaf Ljunggren (keyboards, guitars, effects).

Released on DME.

Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Soundcloud page.

Music from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Available at:  Amazon | eMusic