Sagor & Swing

Häpna H.5, CD
11 tracks, 38 minutes
Listen to: “Mjuk skog”
Reviews of “Orgelfärger”
Release date: April 2001

In the living room of a small house in Dalarna, the Swedish countryside, Sagor & Swing has recorded this timeless music evoking the surrounding landscape - the forests, mountains and lakes. Moody and simple melodies with echoes of old Swedish folk tunes and the nature in the paintings of John Bauer.

Some years ago, Eric Malmberg was given an organ from legendary Swedish organplayer Bo Hansson, one half of the 70’s drums/organ duo Hansson & Karlsson. This organ was the very one used on Hansson’s epic record Lord of the Rings, an influential record which combined jazz and rock together with minor key melodies of Swedish folk music. Sagor & Swing makes a more minimal journey. The melodies unfold at a calm pace and the whole album has a mesmerizing feeling to it.

This is music which could only have been made in Sweden. While the music of Björn Olsson, another Swede influenced by folk music, is connected to the archipelago of the Swedish west coast, Sagor & Swing has its spiritual home in the old forests deep in the middle of the country.

Eric is also an accomplished comic strip writer. His serial “Hansson & Karlsson i världsrymden” (“Hansson & Karlsson in outer space”) ran in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter at the end of 2000.

Personnel: Eric Malmberg: Hammond organ, moog; Ulf Möller: drums

Tracks: 1. Vals på vingar, 2. Melodi, 3. Andra melodin, 4. Sagoslottet, 5. En vandring i bergen, 6. Ljud långt bortifrån, 7. Ett, två, tre, fyr, 8. Mjuk skog, 9. Allt kommer att ordna sig, 10. Bordunens vandring, 11. Ljud långt långt bortifrån


“This CD is striking for its charming naïveté and insouciance. Sagor & Swing is Ulf Möller on drums and Eric Malmberg on a good old organ with a Leslie cabinet, the exact same one that Bo Hansson used to record his LP Lord of the Rings. The 11 short instrumental pieces all feature a delicate melody, light accompaniment from Malmberg's left hand, and soft drumming, usually with padded mallets. It recalls Procol Harum, Hansson of course, but also Alain Goraguer's soundtrack for La Planète Sauvage, the music of '70s Italian groups like Celeste and Goblin (at their softest), and the post-rock stylings of the Boxhead Ensemble. Each piece has been carefully written and arranged, kept to its bare essentials to let the melody hypnotize the listener. Orgelfärger is as intrusive as can be, the pieces flow effortlessly, and upon first listen you might be tempted to dismiss the whole thing as lacking substance. After the second or third spin, the melodies stick and the bucolic mood becomes addictive. It may seem like a cliché, but this music holds something of the essence of Scandinavia's landscape. Furthermore, it is timeless, exempt of any element that could attach it to a period — it could have been recorded in the '60s, the '70s, the '80s, or in 2031. If you like the sound of a Hammond organ and want to hear something pleasant, charming, and easy without being syrupy, then go for it.”
Rated 4/5, François Couture, All music Guide

“Swedish Häpna is a real special label, as it can easy release an album with only field recordings by Japanese artist Toshiya Tsunoda or another one with the rarefied improvisations by veterans such as Rüdiger Carl and Sven-Åke Johansson. Or even its most recent CD's by fellow-contrymen Sagor & Swing and Sheriff.
First we find the gentle, simple and deeply interesting psychedelia of "Orgelfärger", sounds from another time outlined by Eric Malmberg organ and moog and punctuated by Ulf Möller discreet percussion interventions, authentic pastorales shaped on the example of the legendary swedish duo Hansson & Karlsson (maybe somebody remembers their musical transposition of "The Lord of the Rings" by Tolkien, as well as the seminal role of Bo Hansson for the development of Nordic jazz-rock at the end of 70's). And it's just Malberg, an old Hansson pupil and author of all the music on this record, as well as a skilful comic strip writer (his serial dedicated to Hansson & Karlsson and titled "H & K in outer space" ran in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter at the end of 2000), to guide the inspiration of Sagor & Swing into meanders of enchanted agrestic melodies inspired by autochthonous folklore and paintings of John Bauer, with the countryside of Dalarna as a right background and counter-attraction to panic west coast acidity of compatriot Björn Olsson (cf. "Instrumental Music… To Submerge In… Or Disappear Through").”
Rated 9/10, Nicola Catalano, Blow up

“Årets bästa svenska skiva. Instrumentalt med endast en uråldrig orgel i förgrunden låter Sagor & Swing exakt som tredje kapitlet i Stig Claessons "Svart asfalt grönt gräs".”
Andres Lokko, voted 4th best album in Nordic Top Ten (2001), Expressen/Feber

“Två anledningar till att Sagor & Swing är alldeles speciella. En orgel och ett trumset, varken mer eller mindre. Med en sådan sättning heter nyckelreferensen förstås Hansson & Karlsson. Sagor & Swing har också gjor t den mest "svenska" skivan på den här listan, vilket försiktigt vattenmärks med en förbryllande ledig folkmusikalisk ton.”
Voted 8th best Swedish album of 2001, Nöjesguiden