Verklighet & Beat


This is the second solo release from Sweden's Eric Malmberg, former songwriter and organist for the now-defunct Sagor & Swing. Featuring guest musicians such as Goran Kajfes, Lars Skoglund, Johan Berthling, Cecilia Österholm and legendary organist, Bo Hansson. Malmberg-fan and Häpna label-mate David Grubbs describes Verklighet & Beat thusly: "'Till Minne Av Lilly Lindström' is the album's effortless high-water mark in providing instrumental coloration for what had previously been implied by Eric's bare-bones melodies. Are those guitar strings fifty years old? Sleigh bells haven't sounded so good since the first Stooges album. Then the descending disco strings carve up the dancefloor. The other surefire smash in the Top 40 of my mind or dreams is 'Söndagskonsert,' which holds its own when compared to the most moving of Peer Raben's scores for films by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Verklighet & Beat suggests that an impeccably programmed movie theater has opened in Eric's neck of the woods. The album's opening track, 'Finalen' is a signature gesture of Eric's, wherein stirring, nearly martial melodies are rendered with maximum Hammond mellowness. A number of these pieces are essentially marches, and yet they could hardly be less bellicose. 'Finalen' is another in a series of Malmberg earworms: melodies that after a few listens seem as if you've known them since childhood. 'Min Kompis Anton' is another bittersweet, inward-turned march. It incorporates the musicality of distantly-heard recordings of kids' laughter -- an intuitive gesture that seems so right as to preclude further comment. Synth is used sparingly, to merely indicate the stratosphere. 'Slutet På En Epok' is hard-rocking and frantic, much more like the S & S live sets, and a style only occasionally hinted at by previous studio recordings. Ascending modulations are handled in the style of a surf instrumental. The brushes are out on 'Leksand, Tidigt Nittiotal,' a series of reexaminations of a single melodic line. A key fiddle can sound as lonesome as any harmonica. Verklighet & Beat is paradigmatic of Häpna in that its execution is improbably beautiful. It's better in practice than in theory. And Eric Malmberg's vision now radiates color." --David Grubbs, New York, March 2007