If the Nobel committee should ever wish to expand its awards categories and include instrumental modern music, it could do worse than considering Rymden’s band members for its first such honour. Rymden is a pure Scandinavian affair, consisting of a Norwegian and two Swedes. Their talent is prodigious and their names may be very familiar to those who have perused the Ear over the last few years.
Dan Berglund cut his teeth with E.S.T and since became a fixture as one of Europe’s most creative bass player. Drummer Magnus Öström was likewise with Esbjörn Svensson in E.S.T. Bugge Wesseltoft is one of the most creative keyboard players working today and likely the most famous of the trio. All three have produced their own individual albums and works and have lead projects and unique musical ensembles.
Berglund, Öström and Wesseltoft are hard to pin down stylistically, they play a mix of rock, funk, jazz, psychedelia, classical, folk and many other styles, all woven together in a fluid and mightily musical fashion.
While the style is reminiscent of their previous work, this album sounds somehow tighter and more focused stylistically, and dare one suggest, more cinematic. It rocks, it sambas it caresses and casts vast musical landscapes befitting the album title. Valleys & Mountains certainly offers the band a chance to highlight their credentials, where the earlier two Rymden albums were very Wesseltoftian, this album is more of a collective effort. It oozes romance and wit, and in many respects is a supreme soundtrack for a yet to be conceived award winning movie or streamed series.
The Jazzland 44.1/16 digital download is rich and tonally natural with a sound that spreads far beyond the speakers’ boundaries. Valleys & Mountains is 43 minutes of musical alchemy of the highest pedigree that shouldn’t be missed, it’s a single seat affair that will impress from the first note to its last.
Best tracks to my ears: Ro and The Mountain