With the release of Luna Nueva just around the corner, I've put together a track-by-track description with some info on the songs to get your mouth watered... enjoy!
- The opening track. This one's got a great "airy" groove which I pretty much stumbled upon when I was sitting at home noodling on the bass. The outro section was intended to serve as a fun vehicle for Aron (Mellergårdh, drums/percussion/loops) to solo over, with some hits and stuff going on underneath. But when arranging it he was hearing something else, and suggested that instead of a drum solo we could keep the groove going, and fill in the blanks with timbales & other assorted percussion. The inspiration was the Toto-track "Never Enough", in which they use a similar approach for the outro section. In the end, it turned out great & even better than my original idea... go figure, huh!? Also, Jonas (Isaksson, guitar) does a sweet job on the solo, laying down some serious fretwork!
- The first song to feature a special guest, in this case - Jay Oliver. Jay's been one of my absolute heroes (if not THE hero) since I first heard the Dave Weckl/Dave Weckl Band-records in high school (or rather, the Swedish equivalent to it). Besides being a great guy, his talent in songwriting, playing & producing are truly exceptional, and I don't think his appearance here will disappoint anyone! The genesis of this track was a melody that somehow got stuck in my head. When I later sat down at the piano all the parts just came together and I wrote the whole thing that same evening. When arranging it at a rehearsal with Aron, we came up with a shuffle displacement over the second part of the solo section, which turned out way cooler than any of our previous ideas, so we decided to keep it. The initial thought was to have a synth solo over the first two parts, and then have a guitar solo over the third (and final) part. But when Jay accepted my invite to make a guest appearance on this track, we decided to let him have all the parts to himself! Listening to it now, I definitely think we made the right call!! The outro has a cool Karizma-vibe going on with Erik (Linder, guitar) tearing it up on top. Easily one of my favorite tracks on the CD.
- This was the first track that I wrote for this project. It's based on a 12/8 afro-cuban type of feel that's always been a favorite of mine. I remember coming up with the groove at a rehearsal back in 2005, at the time I was listening a lot to Michel Camilo's stuff with Anthony Jackson on bass, and I think that influence shines through quite a lot - basswise - on this one (well, to be honest, the Anthony Jackson-influence is pretty much all over the record!). The intro is a bit reminiscent of Yellowjackets around the Four Corners-era, and I dunno why; but the atmospheric bass solo section always bring to mind the Pat Metheny Group (perhaps it's the marching drum pattern?). Features Arvid (Svenungsson, keyboards) & myself as soloists.
Luna Nueva (Only a Dream)
- The title track & also the only ballad on the CD. I began work on this one in 2005, but it wasn't until early 2007 (when my grandmother passed away suddenly) that I got around to finish it. Writing this one certainly helped me to put closure on her passing, and it's also dedicated to her memory. Great performances from all the cats, making it just as slick as I imagined it would be, with the cherry on top being Jens' (Filipsson, alto sax) solo that really brings the whole track to another level! The title is a metaphor for the beginning of a new "journey" or "existence" after death, whatever that may be.
- The idea for this song was born on Easter Day 2006, when after a night out (& under the influence of a vast amount of alcohol) I came home, picked up the bass, and from the top of my head started playing this slap groove incorporating the EBS Octabass-pedal. I stopped and thought "Yeah, cool! Gotta remember to pick up this thread tomorrow...", and then I crashed. The next day I was actually able to recall most of what I had played the night before (though heavily hungover), and all the pieces of the puzzle was assembled rather quickly. The only part of the song that wasn't written on that day was the pre-solo section, which was an earlier idea that somehow just happened to fit right in! Although I ended up not using the EBS Octabass-pedal on the final version of the track (it would be too much for the faint-of-heart-non-bassists out there), I think it sounds freakin' great. The pre-solo section has a few cool twists & turns, and the solo by Calle (Stålenbring, guitar) is just blazing!
- The last song written for the CD & also the most schizophrenic, without a doubt. It's the second one to feature a special guest, or actually two special guests this time! Jason Rebello (one of my all-time favorite pianists!) & Eric Marienthal (one of my all-time favorite sax players!!) are both featured on this track. It's basically built around a swing/funk-groove with a few changes in feel along the way. Jason & Eric play their asses off (as expected!) and they sure bring some great energy to the track! The bass/synth melody section is a tribute of sorts to Lyle Mays & Pat Metheny. The Metheny-esque chord changes & especially the synth lead patch that Arvid utilizes during this part has become - more or less - a trademark of the Pat Metheny Group. The title is a nod to a) the incredible author Hunter S. Thompson & his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and b) Terry Gilliam's movie adaptation of the book with Johnny Depp & Benicio del Toro playing the leads (both turning in stellar performances, I might add!). Oh yeah, almost forgot, the use of Adrenochrome is said to cause schizophrenia, hence the schizophrenic nature of the song!
Past Tense - Pt. I
- This piece was put together by Erik. I had already written the song and felt that there should be some kind of intro to set up the mood of the song. I explained to him what I was looking for, he got the idea right away and threw this little prelude together!
Past Tense - Pt. II
- I was sitting at the piano working on a song for Split Vision when I began to play around with some min11-chords. I remember thinking "this has got some potential" and made a mental note of what I was doing. A couple of days later I revisited the idea and developed it, along with a structure for the song, adding the somewhat "smooth" solo section that I thought would be a cool break from the rest of the track (just to take it in a different direction for a while). I decided right away that I'd play my fretless Neuser on this one, and it's actually one of three tracks where it's used (the other two being "Luna Nueva (Only a Dream)" & "Adrenochrome"). I'm also featured as a soloist here, together with Erik, who does one helluva job by the way! He's got loads of really nice & silky Michael Landau/Allan Holdsworth-voicings in there, and a solo with lots and lots of emotion that just adds to the whole "porn groove"-feel of that particular section. Originally, I was thinking of a Chad Wackerman/Gary Husband-approach for the drums. Aron, however, insisted on more of a Jeff Porcaro-approach... listening to the track now, I'm glad he did!
- This one came about a bit differently. Aron was toying around with some synths in Logic one day, and sent me an mp3 with approximately 30 seconds of him playing a keyboard motif with this really cool synth patch. I fell in love with the sound from the get-go 'cause it reminded me of Ozric Tentacles, a group that I listened to a lot while in my teens. Aron thought I should write a song for this project based on the motif/synth patch, and so I did! The main groove was very much inspired by the collaboration/interplay between Will Kennedy & Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets, and of course I couldn't resist to throw some Anthony Jackson into the mix as well! The B section has a kinda soaring Pat Metheny Group-feel to it (come to think about it - so does the A section!) and was planned to be played in "cut" time (2/2 meter), but Aron came up with the brilliant idea of having it in "common" time (4/4 meter) instead, giving it an extra push with a nice groove, while still having that soaring quality. Andreas (Ekstedt, percussion) worked some of his darbouka-magic on this track, making it even more world music-influenced than before. Also, Arvid & Jens treats us with really cool synth & sax solos respectively! The title is referring to the highest mountains on the seven continents (Everest, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Denali, Aconcagua, Vinson & Carstensz Pyramid), which I thought was apt since the track has a certain world music-vibe, complete with some etno-inspired soundscapes.
Tierra del Fuego
- I've always had a thing for the intructional videos of the late 80s & early 90s, with guys like Jeff Porcaro, Dave Weckl, John Patitucci, Chick Corea etc. Now, I admit that the clothes & hairdos are alluring, but most of all, it's the semi-cheesy music that I'm somehow extremely fond of! So when I decided to release a solo CD, I felt I just had to write a tune that was close to that style, it was inevitable! If you haven't noticed already, I'm a big fan of Dave Weckl/Dave Weckl Band, and this song is very much a hommage to Dave Weckl & Jay Oliver, and the early latin stuff they did ("Festival de Ritmo", "Tomatillo", "Island Magic" etc.). It also features the last special guest - the amazing Otmaro Ruiz! Actually, when I wrote this track I had two people in mind for the guest spot, it was either gonna be Otmaro Ruiz or Steve Weingart (ex-Dave Weckl Band, whom I also admire & have a great deal of respect for). As a matter of fact, Steve and I talked about having him on this track, but due to scheduling conflicts it didn't work out. As it turned out though, Otmaro was more than happy to be a part of this project & was able to make some time in his busy schedule for the recording session! He's such a great guy & gifted musician, I really advice you to check out his latest CD Sojourn if you haven't already, it's awesome! Not to mention his performance on this track... well, here's a two word sum-up for ya - ON FIRE! The same goes for Aron & Andreas, who both deliver top-notch playing & solid grooves throughout (Aron is also featured as a soloist on this track). "Tierra del Fuego" is Spanish for "Land of Fire", a title I felt was appropriate considering the track is pretty feisty!
Ok, that's it for now, goodnite!