Tio Bitar


2017 repress. Swedish vinyl version of the third album from Sweden's Dungen (CD is on Kemado in the U.S.). Housed in a gatefold sleeve. Since releasing Ta Det Lugnt in 2004, the profile of Swedish psychedelic rockers Dungen has grown at an alarming rate, from a cult studio project into a worldwide musical phenomenon. And on Tio Bitar, we're hearing the end results of an outpouring of success and support -- one which has, for once, inspired the creative processes at hand to make something wholly new and original, yet remaining within the same sphere of emotions that fostered Dungen's three previous albums. Gustav Ejstes, Dungen's founder and principal member, made Tio Bitar (trans. "Ten Pieces"), a bracing display of psychedelic rock, presented with a bright, avid confidence largely by himself, with the assistance of guitarist Reine Fiske. Gustav wrote the songs, and played all of the instruments on his own, with Reine on many lead guitar and bass parts. Tracks like "Familj," "Så Blev Det Bestämt" and "Gör Det Nu" suggest a new, unburdened direction for the belabored concept of "jamming." Here, themes in the melodies, borrowing some of their phrasings but spinning off into lucid counterpart, are all anchored by the bass, drums, and organ. When vocals -- as on past efforts, sung entirely in Swedish, or a flute appear, they're diverging out to a third melody, still safely within the frame, in tune with each part. In other words, this is a more streamlined Dungen, all bombast and psych-rock madness whittled down to the bare essentials. Complex arrangements find the songs boiling over with dozens of ideas, stitched together with studio flash, yet played so soulfully and economically, that there's no evidence of the kind of smug, cynical hamminess that's been hurting rock music since the early '70s. Nor is it the other extreme; no wide-eyed innocence and eagerness to please. Tio Bitar follows world tours and enthusiastic responses from the press and public, and answers the praise with yet another set of cohesive, adventurous rock songs that can't sit still, possessing the vision and focus to distance itself from distraction and obvious influences. "Dungen is not retro," Gustav states. "Dungen is contemporary. Contemporary because it consists of elements from both then and now."