Tonbruket, bassist Dan Berglund’s post-EST prog-jazz outfit, are to return with Nubium Swimtrip, the Swedes' third album, which is now confirmed for a 30 September release in the UK. Berglund's band will also tour in a support slot for Norwegian-born Stockholm-based singer/songwriter Ane Brun in November playing the Forum, London on 14 November, Ruby Lounge in Manchester the following day and then Vicar St in Dublin on the 16th, and at Colin Beattie’s Òran Mór venue in Glasgow on the 18th.
Nubium Swimtrip was recorded at Abbey Road Studio 2 in London earlier this year with Berglund once again joined on this ACT records release by Martin Hederos (keys, piano, violin); lap/pedal steel guitarist/keyboardist Johan Lindström; and drummer Andreas Werliin; with a guest slot filled by Magnus Holmström on key fiddle.
Mostly Lindström’s music, although the lovingly developed title track is Berglund's, the album is more an ambitious leap forward from the band's earlier album Dig it To The End (2011) than debut Tonbruket (2010), and collects a great many styles within its reach.
You could listen to Nubium Swimtrip as an alt-country/Nordic-Americana album if you wanted to, although that would be slightly missing the point. It's more straightforwardly prog-oriented, comprised of 11 ambitious tracks with bits of electronica and even film soundtrack sewn in. It’s not until the piano-led third track, the winsome ballad ‘Little Bruk’, that the mysteriously (lunar?)-titled Nubium Swimtrip heads out on to the open jazz road with a lovely Martin Hederos solo at the beginning. With fewer big melodies than their debut album it’s more about nuanced contours and musical plot development partly created via improvisation. Berglund’s big solo on ‘Liga’ draws upon middle eastern textures and an experimental Turkic electronica after a very different beginning. There’s a notable surge of volume and beats-per-minute on ‘The Harmonist’, yet the album veers away from a commercial rock sound altogether although occasionally it’s on the brink of ramping it up. The electronica of ‘Dukes and Wells’ is more of a creative solution with some wonderful sonar effects and deep soundscapes. At the beginning of ‘Arbat’ there’s an arresting bit of film dialogue taken from the Oscar winning William Wyler-directed 1946 movie The Best Years of Our Lives and then the album goes deeper into prog waters, more Floyd than Soft Machine perhaps on 'Peace' before the naturalistic and quite moving ‘Closer’ where the band really hit pay dirt. Stephen Graham
Tonbruket pictured at the Abbey Road studios in London. Photo: David Forman/ACT