«Zauberberg» is the second part of a trilogy of albums by Swedish keyboards player Mattias Risberg dedicated to the region of Bergslagen, a historically and culturally distinct ore mining region in northern Svealand, Sweden, since the Middle Ages. The first part in this trilogy, «Live in Stripa» (Kullen Reko, 2019) was recorded live deep inside an old ore mine in Stripa in August 2018. «Zauberberg» was premiered at the Stripabryggeriet in Stripa mining region in September 2019 but recorded in the Atlantis studio in Stockholm in December 2019.
Risberg enjoys the same cast of Swedish all-stars, with one change. Jenny Abrahamsson replaced Mariam Wallentin, and she joins Risberg on keyboards, Fredrik Ljungkvist on reeds, guitarist David Stackenäs, violinist Josefin Runsten, bass player Dan Berglund and drummer Jon Fält. All of them collaborated before in different outfits and formats. The inclusive-kaleidoscopic musical envelope is even more expansive here than on «Live in Stripa» but, obviously, introduces the innocent and storytelling-like yet fragile delivery of Abrahamsson. But she does not play a central, charismatic role as Wallentin did on the debut album of this band.
Risberg adds spacy synthesizers to his arsenal of keyboards and the music references more strongly the dramatic, prog-rock, fusion and art-rock of the seventies, with clear nods towards seminal British bands like King Crimson and Soft Machine on the opening title-piece, on «Megaphone» with the fusion-sounding electric keyboards of Risberg, and even the folk-prog version of «Renaissance» on «Sweet Science». «Shrink» sounds as paying homage to Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention with its complex and playful, sudden shifts of dynamics and pulse. Stackenäs takes «Red Pond» into a psychedelic terrains with a beautiful solo. «Rock n’ Stein» is a surprising and engaging and almost-pop song. This short journey is concluded with the beautiful, melancholic «Obstacles», highlighting the gentle delivery of Abrahamsson and the lyrical violin playing Runsten.
Mattias Risberg (keys, v), Jennie Abrahamsson (v), Fredrik Ljungkvist (s, cl), David Stackenäs (g), Josefin Runsten (vio, perc), Dan Berglund (b), Jon Fält (dr, perc)