«Krantzkommun» completes the Swedish keyboard player-composer-lyricist Mattias Risberg’s Mining trilogy, reflecting on Risberg’s formative memories from the mine area of Bergslagen, a historically and culturally distinct ore mining region in northern Svealand, Sweden, since the Middle Ages, where Risberg grew up. This album follows «Live in Stripa» and «Zauberberg» (Kullen Reko, 2019 and 2020), and features an extended, all-star ensemble of eleven musicians, based on the core band of «Live in Stripa» and «Zauberberg» – vocalist Jenny Abrahamsson, Risberg on keyboards, Fredrik Ljungkvist on reeds, guitarist David Stackenäs, violinist Josefin Runsten, bass player Dan Berglund and drummer Jon Fält. This band is augmented now by harpist Stina Hellberg Agback, the recitation of Stan Sandell, violinist Eva Lindal and reeds player Per ‘Texas’ Johansson. «Krantzkommun» was premiered in the Stripa mining environment in August 2020 and recorded later at Stockholm’s legendary Atlantis studio.
«Krantzkommun» is the most ambitious and most dramatic part of the Mining trilogy. Risberg created a fascinating psychedelic prog-rock meets spiritual free jazz opera that incorporates dream-like soundscapes, poetry, theatrical songs that flirt with Kate Bush’s work (the phrasing of Abrahamsson and the color of her voice), and complex rhythmic ideas that pay homage to Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention (check «Ping Pong»), and much more. Somehow, it all makes sense as if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The emotional yet charismatic delivery of Abrahamson – sung in English- is now augmented by the suggestive and dramatic poetry of Sten Sandell – recited in Swedish. The atmospheric, vintage keyboards of Risberg anchor this sonic journey into an era when such grandiose compositions were welcomed. Stackenäs, Ljungkvist and Johansson charge the playful commotion with a sense of urgency while Agback and Lindal color it with poetic folky shades and Berglund and Fält add a strong, Mingus-like swinging foundation. And all tell fascinating stories that shaped Risberg’s identity as a composer and musician.
Stina Hellberg Agback (harp), Mattias Risberg (keys), Sten Sandell (recitation), Jennie Abrahamson (v), Dan Berglund (b), Jon Fält (dr), Josefin Runsteen (vio, mallets), Fredrik Ljungkvist (s, cl), Eva Lindal (vio), David Stackenäs (g), Per ‘Texas’ Johansson (s, cl)