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Album Review

Dunger, Nicolai – “Vinyl Trilogy, the ” – [Plain Recordings]

Max Level   8/22/2006   12-inch, A Library

Three LPs (“Blind Blemished Blues”, “A Dress Book”, and “Sweat Her Kiss”) originally released 2001-2002 in editions of 500 each, first re-issued as a 3-CD set, then re-re-issued 2004 as this beautifully-packaged 3-LP set. Dunger is a melancholy Swedish singer-songwriter who plays guitar and keyboards, and sings with a Van Morrison-ish jazzy inflection in his voice. He has a tendency to slur the words, as though he’s been up for several days with no sleep. Which perhaps he was; according to the liner notes, each of these LPs was recorded in only 2 or 3 days. He throws a lyrical curve here and there, describing thoughts and feelings in unusual ways (ie: “I’m a sinking stone in your big ol’ bathtub”). He also has an interesting sense of melody, hardly ever using the notes that you’re expecting at any given time. The “Dress” LP is mostly instrumental, with only the last track on each side having vocals. Its arrrangements veer from jaunty to weepy and back again, and it’s probably my favorite of the three records. The “Sweat” LP has a cover of “Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma” by ’70s folkie Melanie. Of particular note is the layout of the “Blind” LP, which runs through 7 songs pretty normally, then the 8th song is 16 minutes long and uses all the lyrics, in order, of the previous 7 songs. A clever but strange idea. That track also has ghostly flutes, horns, and noises in the background. Over the course of the three LPs, an impressive variety of musical styles are touched upon (folk, jazz, blues, rock, country, a piece that could well accompany a flying trapeze act, and much more…). A remarkable project. Dive in and explore.

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