Translated reviews

Magnus Ereiksson, LIRA, SE

Someone has suggested “Dunéresque” as a genre designation. It is true that Sophie Dunér creates deeply personal music that integrates jazz with impressions from the art musical avant-garde. But there is also humor and a playful virtuosity in her song. Sophie Dunér’s voice is agile, she climbs along the scales, she likes to spoil her basically beautiful voice with provocative outcomes with steel-hard edges.
She has made records with groups in various formats, and she has worked with a string quartet. But the Dunerese is there as a hallmark. So too on the new Songs eclectic , a duo recording with guitarist Gene Pritsker, who plays with the same playful virtuosity that Sophie Dunér sings. He is in style and technique close to other guitarists who blow the frames (from jazz, rock or country) for a flowing pickiness that defies all attempts at domestication descriptions, such as Mary Halvorson, Fred Frith or Eugene Chadbourne.
In a couple of tracks, the duo format exploded, as in the magnificent tribute to Mardi Gras with marching drums and – I think – a steady bass clarinet. And provocatively disharmonious singing. In other songs, Sophie Dunér enters into a direct dialogue with jazz’s classical singing technique, as in Dizcharmed with an irresistible skating song that challenges, even deconstructs, both the technique and the tradition in a wild combination of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie. Gene Pritsker’s guitar playing becomes a critical interpretation of the small band swing’s guitarists, while Sophisticated love and Funeral blues almost evoke the wild, repressed side of Julie London’s and Barney Kessel’s vocal and guitar duets.
Sophie Dunér’s music is rich in connotations. The associations parade in front of one’s ears, but she gives everything a deeply unmistakable personal touch. How was it now? “Dunéresque”? Sure, why not.

Frank Becker, Musenblätter,DE

(English translation by T.L Mazumdar

Sonic Adventures 

The Fine Art of Scatting

Sophie Dunér plays with sound and the voice.

In spite of Sweden’s unconventional approach to the pandemic in comparison to the rest of central Europe, the limitations that artists around the world have been subject to were not something Sophie Dunér had been spared.

She chose to utilize this time to conceptualize a brand new project inviting guitarist Gene Pritsker, composer Mark Kostabi and lyricist Erik T. Johnson to collaborate on her new download-only album, ”Songs Eclectic”.

The result is a virtuosic sonic journey riding on vocals and guitar which reaffirms Sophie Dunér’s extraordinary artistic qualities.

”Robot in Love” opens with machinesque poetry and acoustic climaxes hinting at Kraftwerk leanings. Followed by ”Slippery Slope”, where expansive vocal-overdub tapestries reveal an overall aural approach that sets the mood for the album. All the while with Gene Pritsker’s guitar strains assuming the role of an acoustic twin-flame of sorts to this unique voice. ”Sophisticated Love” being another example that stands testimony to this.

To quote my earlier review of (her last album) ”The City of Dizzy”:

”..this is virtuosic through and through – and a little bizarre; beautifully bizarre to be precise”.

Sophie Dunér keeps singing her futuristic lines consistently, presents her gorgeous scats and close-to-unbelievable octave jumps. She whispers, squeaks, roars, growls, hums, and swings.

After a somewhat restrained ”Funeral Blues”, ”Beating Pulse” drives the energy right back up to the top. While ”Wake Up World” makes a sophisticated appearance, ”Mardi Gras” is a more cheerful March where Gene Pritsker unpacks his multi-instrumentalist skills and Sophie conjures up images of the eternal Carnival on the streets of Katrina-stricken New Orleans.

One of my favorite pieces on the album is the versatile, virtuosity-ridden ”Dizcharmed” (featuring Sophie’s whistling).

The album ends with a very zeitgeist-relevant reference to US ongoings through the piece ”What Matters”. (The only catch with this particular piece being that I don’t understand a word of the poetry and would have liked to have access to the script). But that does not undermine the exceptional vocal artistry of this Swedish singer in any manner.

A very unusual and very impressive album. Highly recommended by Musenblättern.