Bearded Magazine / Albums{REL[24770][artist]Yv4XYIZ7REL} / ACT

Tonbruket: Masters of Fog (ACT)

Evoking a series of imaginary film soundtracks, the Swedish jazz quartet draw from multiple genres to winning effect

Released Nov 11th, 2019 via ACT / By Norman Miller
Tonbruket: Masters of Fog (ACT) Tonbruket is Swedish for ‘sound factory’, and it's an apt description for the Swedish kind-of-jazz quartet founded a decade ago by former e.s.t. bass man Dan Berglund.

Rather than teaming up with pure jazzers, Berglund's companions cross the musical spectrum. Guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Johan Lindström does great stuff here with pedal steel and keys, while Martin Hederos from Swedish rock band The Soundtracks Of Our Lives adds synths and violin to piano. Drummer Andreas Werliin combines a past with edgy voice / drums duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums, and a continuing present with free jazz / psychedelic rock trio Fire.

With that line-up, the group's sixth album comes across as the musical equivalent of chucking a smoke grenade into the genre mix. It's a bold approach that sometimes succeeds brilliantly, and at other times gets a 'close, but no cigar'.

Wheel No.5 is one of the brilliant tracks – starting out like something clever by a lost 1970s prog-dabbling rock outfit before moving into growling bass and keys. Gold stars too for Waiting For Damocles Sword which wraps itself initially around a tango before moving into mournful bass territory. AM/FM is a thrilling soundscape melange of swooshes and pulses.

There's a film music vibe to many tracks, making it fun to assign tags. So the title track opener channels a slightly kitsch vibe of moody synth, languid steel guitar and piano tinkles like an early 1970s thriller, while the mournful The Enders nods to 1980s Morricone. The outstanding reverb guitar-drenched Tonability would fit neatly into a Tarantino soundtrack.

Away from silver screen nods, The Barn moves through downbeat early Nirvana acoustic guitar riffs to sweeter uplands lit by swooping strings. The Pavlova Murders closes the album like a mini-summation of its crossover schtick - pulsing keys and sinuous bass to start, a middle section of glitchy synth with pattering drums and cymbals, then a tinkly piano and guitar ending.

Not always a triumph, but plenty here that sounds genuinely different in a very good way. 4/5