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Erik Dahl Ensemble — Everyone's Too Sad for Everything
(Bandcamp Svalka CD008, 2023, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-11-27

Everyone's Too Sad for Everything Cover art

The second album by Erik Dahl’s Ensemble, the follow up to 2020’s beautiful Gethenian Suite, and only one year after Dahl’s solo album (recorded with members of the ensemble) Music for Small Rooms, the new album bears kind of an unusual title, though that butterfly gracing the album cover is called a Mourning Cloak — thus one would have to conclude that the theme of this ten track instrumental recording is sadness and mourning, definitely not one of happiness and cheer. It only takes the first fifteen seconds of the opening composition “Lagim” to make that perfectly clear, all minor-key chamber style like some kind of requiem, though performed impeccably by this outstanding six-piece group. The component parts of the ensemble remain the same as on Gethenian Suite, but some of the players have changed: Dahl, in addition to all of the compositions and arrangements, plays piano and electronics, with Anna Cochrane playing violin and viola, Anna Malmström on clarinet and bass clarinet, Andreas Thurfjell playing all manner of saxophones plus clarinet, drummer/percussionist William Soovik, and newcomer Viktor Reuter on double bass. The overall style could be considered neo-classical, but Dahl is very much the musical alchemist and allows many of these pieces to be informed by jazz and avant-garde idioms, working within his ensemble’s capabilities to achieve whatever it takes to convey the feeling to the listener, which is often dark, forlorn and pensive, though peppered with occasional moments of peaceful beauty, mostly via Dahl’s piano, and the saxes, bass, and drums will get the pieces moving forward in the higher energy passages. The imagery throughout remains subtle yet complex in its own way, and the players are definitely up to the task of bringing it all to life. Recommended for fans of Simon Steensland, Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, and the like.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Erik Dahl

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