Review Summary: Gustav Ejstes almost single handedly sculpts a living, breathing time capsule of the 60’s.
The most immediate and striking aspect of Ta Det Lugnt
(translation: “take it easy”) is the rich palette of sounds it has. Guitars, drums, bass, keyboards, woodwinds, strings – you name it and it’s there. Even more impressive is that even though there are so many instruments at work here it never gets too dense. Between full tilt sonic freakouts and the calmer, more minimal sections every instrument gets a chance to shine. The man responsible for all of this is Gustav Ejstes, who has to be one of the most talented musicians out there today. Ejstes plays drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and other instruments on the album. He also writes and sings all of the songs. And on top of that he also recorded and mixed the album. Yes, in true 60’s fashion he does this with a little help from his friends (special shout out goes to Reine Fiske who adds some particularly gnarly solos to several tracks), but make no mistake about it, Ejstes is the driving force behind Dungen.
Opener “Panda” begins with fractured percussion before some speedy bass rolls and an electric riff establishes order. Ejstes then sings something that sounds like “find your boat alone/lay your boat on him”. Did I forget to mention that Ejstes is Swedish and that all the lyrics are in Swedish? Don’t let that be a turnoff though. Even if for some reason you don’t enjoy trying to sing along with songs in a foreign language and inventing your own English approximations, you’ll find that you won’t be missing out on much. He has a great voice that matches the music perfectly. You may not understand what he’s saying, but for music that is already so charged with feeling it’s not really a detriment.
Nowhere is this more evident than “Festival”. The gentle, pastoral acoustic strumming really does make it feel like a day out at some idyllic summer festival. The song builds in intensity, lingering piano notes adding a touch of melancholy to the proceedings, almost as if to remind us that these happy times, like all things, are fleeting. Ejstes’ final line, “festival” is touched with just a hint of sadness, and one last chord rings out grandly. Until an almost honky-tonk like piano part tells you to lighten up. Take it easy, remember?
Other standouts include the title track, which features a number of Hendrix worshipping, fuzzed out leads separated by the band leader’s shimmering cries of “ta det lugnt”. A spoken word bit then bridges the gap leading to a jazzy instrumental section complete with saxophone, courtesy of Aron Hejdström. The keyboards and muted guitar on “Lejonet & Kulan” simmer threateningly until gentle wafts of woodwinds clear the way for a powerful organ lead which announces the entrance of psych rocker “Bortglömd”. The last track on the album is a blissful wall of sound, delicate piano lines crashing against crazed wah-wah addled riffs until the whole thing topples under a squall of feedback.
Ta Det Lugnt
is a wonderfully exciting medley of sounds, including acid rock, folk, jazz, prog and pop. Throughout Gustav Ejstes shows his love for 60’s rock music, and his passionate homage to that sound gives the impression that he had to have been a part of that scene to craft the music this well. The amazing thing is that he was only 24 when this album came out. And while I’m not entirely convinced time travel wasn’t involved in the making of this album, it remains that Ta Det Lugnt
is a vibrant tribute to that time period that any self-respecting fan of psych rock should own.