Two recent releases from Sweden feature the incomparable Mats Edén playing the violin and accordion, each with a different troupe of musicians who come together to realize his broad musical vision with all its disparate elements.
Born in Värmland, Sweden, near the border with Norway, and a graduate of the Norwegian Academy of Music, Edén has been at the center of innovation in contemporary folk music in Scandinavia for over 25 years, playing violin and accordion as a member of the legendary band Groupa (with flautist Jonas Simonson), the Nordan Project with Ale Moller and Lena Willemark, and his many solo projects. He has also played with the Norwegian string quartet Cikada, which exerts a strong influence on his own writing. Edén has earned the distinguished title of Riksspelman (master musician), and he is the winner of five Swedish Grammy nominations.
Each of these recordings showcase Edén's composing skills, his Swedish and Norwegian influences, and his talents on violin and accordion, and showcases his near-schizophrenic musical temperament.
Apple Blossom features some Americana-sounding influences on his fine fiddle playing, as on "Näcklek" and "Gorrlauspolska," but much of the remainder of the album has a very different feel to it; it's more abstract and almost dissonant at times.
"Concerto in A" (excerpt)
He is joined on Apple Blossom by several musicians on flutes, cello, viola, harpsichord, guitar, and some orchestral groupings. His "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A" is an excellent example of Edén's complex musical sensibility, and showcases his compositional skills. Some of the music here may be Edén's expression of what he calls "a more experimental tonal language." But his musicality is always at the fore in all of his compositions.
"Da hoga herrarnas polska" (full song)
How can one musician have such a changing sensibility when recording with different people? And how is it that both versions of Mats Edén can individually work very well, without even a reference to the other? To me, this is what makes him such a superlative musician, pushing the envelope of his genre, and full of so many musical codes which he is able to make work in any given vehicle.
The Crane Dance Trio is a project he formed with long time collaborator Jonas Simonson on flute, and Mattias Perez on 12 string guitar (also a member of the band HARV). All 3 musicians write music for this full sounding yet delicate recording, reflecting their varied influences and skilled playing.
This is a very warm and open recording, lyrical and melodious. The interplay between the musicians is seamless, and create a beautiful and unified wall of sound. Guitarist Mattias Perez is a sensitive complement to these two talents, pushing the trio's sound into new areas.
Flyger igen is a lovely listen at almost any time of the day, and will fill your environment with musical genius - David Smith