Så tar natten dig åter, the debut album by Swedish septet Beloveds is at once assertive and tender. The musicjazz with roots in European folk music and with a keen focus on improvisationis composed and set to lyrics by Beloveds' singer and leader Channa Riedel. Riedel, a musician-poet, penned some of the lyrics herself, while others are adapted from the work of writers and musicians like Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio, Vladimir Mayakovskij, Karin Boye, and Cornelis Vreeswijk. Despite the disparity of the album's co-authors, Så tar natten dig åter finds a strong sense of cohesion. In fact, the different source material almost strengthens the musical thesis which Beloveds are cultivating. Riedel and co. cite the progressive Swedish musical tradition of progg as a strong influence, and this feeling and energy are apparent in the music. While most of the songs are sung in Swedish (two are in English), moods of general unrest and activism are audible, no matter what the listener's native language is.
It is hard not to be reminded of the music of Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra by this record. Just as Haden's ensemble tended to do, Beloveds showcase the talents of its members through songs whose ideas are universal and pull from any number of inspirations and themes. Beloveds' tenor saxophonist Pelle Westlin flourishes more often than not and is a highlight of the album. His solo on "El derecho de vivir en paz/Rätten till ett eget liv" steals the tune's spotlight, lyrical and ever-increasing in the energy that the rhythm section builds with him.
Also striking are the more tender moments on the album. "Ur: För full hals" is a gentle yet excited tune whose sparse first minute is a perfect bed for Reidel's voice, candid and intricate. Reidel's singing is the ultimate thru-line of Så tar natten dig åter, and while the album doesn't explicitly highlight her stylistic range, it finds her voice sounding right at home on each track, no matter the dynamic or tempo.
Ultimately, some moments of Så tar natten dig åter are stronger than others. "Welcome to Europe" feels a little clunky and lacks the subtlety of many of the other tracks. But, fortunately, the strong moments prevail on the album, making it a fascinating and enjoyable meditation on jazz, folk music, politics and poetry.
Recorded by: Gustav Davidsson. Studio Glasfågeln, June 2018.
Mix. & mast: Gustav Davidsson.
1. Natt, låt fången fullborda sin klagan - Lyrics: Palestinsk trad. Sw. transl: Ingvar Rydberg. Music: Channa Riedel.
2. Så tar natten dig åter - Lyrics & music: Channa Riedel.
3. I mörkret - Lyrics: Karin Boye. Music: Channa Riedel.
4. Beloveds - Lyrics: Juliana Spahr. Music & lyrics edit: Channa Riedel.
5. Welcome to Europe - Lyrics & music: Channa Riedel.
6. El derecho de vivir en paz - Sw. lyrics: Cornelis Vreeswijk. Music: Victor Jara.
7. Ur: För Full Hals - Lyrics: Vladimir Majakovskij. Sw. transl: Gunnar Harding & Ulf Bergström. Music: Channa
8. Flykten Valde Oss - Lyrics: Stig Dagerman. Music: Channa Riedel.
9. Nu slår en blomma ut - Lyrics: Stig Dagerman. Music: Channa Riedel. L
10. Den svarta tuppen - Lyrics & music: José Antonio Sanchez Ferlosio. Sw. transl: Jacob Branting.