Dungen is the project of Swedish multi-instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes.
He honed his skills with Dungen (Subliminal, 2001),
structured as three lengthy medleys a` la Mike Oldfield,
and Stadsvandringar (Dolores, 2002 - Astralwerks, 2005), also released
as 2 (Subliminal, 2002), a set of shorter songs,
two tentative folk-rock workouts that mainly helped him improve his technique at
the various instruments and his sonic vision.
His source of inspiration was Swedish folk music, but his musical roots
were grounded in Sixties' pop.
The two finally merged harmoniously on
Ta Det Lugnt (Subliminal Sounds, 2004), an orgy of retro
production that roams the aural landscape of the Sixties
for shimmering debris of guitar-pop hooks and bouncy rhythms.
Dungen owes something to the generation of Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips,
but Dungen's songs are more rooted in folk and hard-rock.
The album parades an infectious number (Festival),
a charming jazzy instrumental (Det Du Tanker Idag Ar Du I Morgon),
a slab of distorted space-rock (Bortglomd),
two eight-minute mutant trips (Du E Foer Fin Foer Mig, with the most
Hendrix-ian solo, and Ta Det Lugnt, with a jazzy coda of
pianola and cornet),
and then a rosary of nostalgic melodies from Panda to
Lipsill to Sluta Folja Efter.
All in all, this is what Bevis Frond has been
doing for more than 20 years, except Dungen actually has class.
Perhaps the greatest living specialist in Sixties revival, Gustav Ejstes
penned more of his trademark Sixties productions on
Tio Bitar (Kemado, 2007), but in a far less successful manner.
Only a few of them
(Sa Blev Det Bestamt) match the delight of the
The nine-minute stylistic carousel of Mon Amour
is a bit too confused.
The wild space-rocking Intro doesn't go anywhere, and its
melodic version, Gor Det Nu, sounds positively kitsch.
Familj and others approach the format of the MOR ballad.
4 (2008) was a rather bland exercise in mellow arrangements. Having
abandoned any ambition to reinvent the rock song, Dungen explored the tonal
possibilities of jazz-rock and ambient music. The new phase is also represented
by the new prominent role of instruments such as piano and flute; and by the
shorter size of the songs.
Dungen's collaborator Mattias Gustavsson is also active as
Life On Earth, that released Look!! There Is Life On Earth! (Subliminal Sounds).
Reine Fiske's guitar steals the show on
Skit I Allt (Mexican Summer, 2010), whose highlights are the instrumentals
(Hogdalstoppen and Blandband).
Dungen is now a real band, and its style harks back to
prog-rock of the 1970s, tinged with folk and jazz.
Dungen's guitarist Reine Fiske and Johan Holmegard formed the Amazing with
vocalist Christopher Gunrup. Their recordings
harked back to the naive folk-rock and the laid-back country-rock of the early 1970s:
the single Dragon (2008), the album
The Amazing (2009), the mini-album Wait for the Light to Come (2010) and second album Gentle Stream (2011).
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