Tonbruket is the new project started by seminal experimental jazz group Esbjörn Svensson Trio bass player Dan Berglund, after the tragic demise of E.S.T following the death of Svensson.
Having sadly never been into E.S.T when they were around (something I shall forever regret), I am unable to comment on their live performances, but based on the recordings I have heard I can make some comparisons on at least a very basic level. What intrigued me the most about E.S.T was their ability to seamlessly meld aspects of electronica, rock, jazz and classical music to create a whole new progressive sound. This is particularly evident on their outstanding 2006 album Tuesday Wonderland. Tonbruket carries on this ambition with wondrous effect.
With Tonbruket, Berglund has taken what he has learnt with E.S.T and has managed to create what is nothing less than a stroke of genius contemporary experimental symphony. Each track is a movement that tells a story and is essential in understanding the piece as a whole. No more is the more evident than the incredible Sailor Waltz, a piece of music so evocative that before even being made aware of the title, I had an image in my mind of a desolate shoreline in the winter, waves crashing along the beach and abandoned shipwrecks on the horizon. Very eerie indeed. Yet, as beautiful as this piece of music is, it is nothing without being in placed in the context of the album as a whole. In the case of Tonbruket, the whole is most definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Which, I feel, is always a sign of a truly great record.
Live, the music translates just as well, if not better. While only a humble quartet, Tonbruket have a lot of equipment. Berglund himself couldn’t even describe what all the instruments were. Seeing the incredibly complex sounds of the album being performed live was a real treat, and the whole set was utterly captivating.
Tonbruket take influences from everything from Beethoven to Radiohead and defy genre so much I’m not even going to attempt to classify them. Indeed I feel it would be disrespectful to even try. This is music, this is contemporary art at its very finest. I urge you, go and see them, you will not come away feeling quite the same.