All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

1

Sväng: Hauptbahnhof

Anthony Shaw By

Sign in to view read count
From the outset, Sväng's eighth album Hauptbahnhof evokes a bygone age of often gilded life, leisured strolls, and acoustic instrumentation. Or is it just the evocative sound of their four harmonicas that immediately conjures marching men, wartime truces and so forth? In any case this album of idiosyncratic tunes, and one song, does more than its best to show that four professionals with their combined harmonic range of over six octaves, can take the harmonica anywhere on the musical spectrum.

The first track 'Jampparaleele' sets the album in motion in a classic steam-driven style, a piece whose name itself suggests railroad journey in their company. As many of the 16 tunes here, it is based around a classic folk notion, this one a Romainian geamparale (a castanet based riff if I understand right) to which Eero Turkka, one of the three composers in this quartet, has composed a tune. The overall sound is rather reminiscent of another harmonica-led group, Hazmat Modine, except that Sväng's repertoire owes less to the blues and more to east European dance traditions, and in order to fully appreciate the humor of their work (the titles especially) requires a PhD in contemporary Finnish slang.

In fact this album is quite a retrospective product, including 12 pieces that can be considered favorites among their many followers in Europe and Japan, such 'Jampparaleele' and 'Svängtime Rag,' although mainly not released before. To these are added four new pieces, such as an adaption of John Williams' orchestral piece 'Hedwig's Theme' by Eero Grundström, and Jouko Kyhälä's 'Kua Kua Komi Kiki,' inspired by a repeated line of Averell Dalton in the Lucky Luke cartoon strip, "Cuando se come acqui?." Their humor is indeed multi-cultural.

As these titles suggest to the initiated, in general this music is quite light, frequently evocative of traditional folk or jazz melodies, another piece being 'I'm Gonna Meet My Mother in Glory,' as performed by Jaybird Coleman and Ollis Martin. During their 14 year career they have tackled a swathe of genres with their four-part harmonic approach, including an album of Sibelius' music and another including six Chopin pieces. So 72 minutes of incessantly instrumental harmonica music might seem 'challenging' and is nothing if not focused. But, like their live shows, Sväng vary the weight of their attack with a widely, if not wildly, varied selection of tunes and tempos, and an approach to music that is at the same time targeted and teasing.

Track Listing: Jampparaleele; Tango de la Abuelita; Humaljärvi; Svängarska Kopanitsa; Muromskin tiell'; Hoijakat; Koi No Vacance; Haidukka; Kua Kua Kome Kiki?; Pääskysen polska; Hedwig’s Theme; Moara; Kiiskellä kisaa; Svängtime Rag; I’m Gonna Meet My Mother In Glory; Howl’s Moving Castle.

Personnel: Eero Grundström: harmonicas, vocal; Jouko Kyhälä: harmonicas, vocal; Pasi Leino: bass harmonica; Eero Turkka: harmonicas, vocal.

Title: Hauptbahnhof | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Galileo Music

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Hauptbahnhof

Hauptbahnhof

Galileo Music
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Love Wins CD/LP/Track Review
Love Wins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 19, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Mutt Slang CD/LP/Track Review
Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Prisma CD/LP/Track Review
Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Investigations" CD/LP/Track Review Investigations
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Heptagon" CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Live from San Pedro" CD/LP/Track Review Live from San Pedro
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Town And Country" CD/LP/Track Review Town And Country
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Lighthouse" CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Old Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Old Soul
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: February 26, 2018