Magnus Ereiksson, LIRA, SE
Frank Becker, Musenblätter,DE
(English translation by T.L Mazumdar www.tlwrites.com)
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.