Sven Wunder - Eastern Flowers Music Album Reviews

On his debut, this Swedish artist submerges psych-rock instrumentals into one low, bubbling groove.

Last year, the Swedish artist Sven Wunder quietly released his debut album Doğu Çiçekleri on a freshly minted label called Piano Piano. Intentionally mysterious, the project was crafted to resemble an obscure ‘60s or ‘70s library record, the kind of purposefully anonymous mood music used by TV shows and movie houses to cheaply soundtrack their productions. In a vacuum, most library records are campy and awkward, but a select few feel like mystical accidents, cross-genre laboratory experiments that yield bizarre new life forms. Sven Wunder has successfully aimed Doğu Çiçekleri in this direction, and so it feels less helpful to describe the music as jazz or funk than to back away and simply call it heavy.
The most memorable and reliable lead voice is a saz, a shimmering, sure-footed metallic sound that helps cast Eastern Flowers in a Mediterranean folk hue. Whoever is playing it is shredding, and helps give the album its restrained funk. The album clearly wants to transport you somewhere, but Wunder is refreshingly unclear about where that might be, and Eastern Flowers is never too on-the-nose about evoking rare-groove nostalgia: “Daisy” opens with some surf-rock spy-theme cliches before a saz overpowers the guitar and snowballs into glitchy organ stabs and beeps. That surf-rock tone pops up as the pecking bass effect on “Red Rose” alongside a wah-wah that sounds like a laser. These are dramatic production choices, but Wunder submerges them into one long, lazy, bubbling groove.

Things get much weirder: “Hyacinth” coaxes a polka-like trot out of a Seinfeld-theme bassline and douses it in spaghetti-western toppings. “Lotus” and “Lily” are brooding psych-folk jams, apropos of nothing else on the record. But no matter how outré the sounds get, the intensity of Wunder’s productions sneaks up on you. Many grooves dig in so deeply they seem to form a drone, an intoxicating effect that sinks in slowly over the course of the album. Snap out of it and step away, and the whole album seems to buzz in the same vibration, like a single plucked string. It’s a testament to Wunder’s vision that he’s created something so self-contained out of such wild ingredients.

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Sven Wunder - Eastern Flowers Music Album Reviews Sven Wunder - Eastern Flowers Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, May 15, 2020 Rating:

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