BEATUNDERCONTROL: Cosmic Repackage (Malicious Damage)


Posted on Apr 29th 2008 12:36 am

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Beatundercontrol: Cosmic Repackage

Cosmic Repackage
Malicious Damage 2008
09 Tracks. 49mins56secs

Swedish bassist Ulf Ivarrson has, in the thirty years he has been around, taken a variety of musical paths which have led him from punk to rock, pop, techno and dub. He first appeared on the music scene in 1981, aged just fifteen, with Swedish outfit The Quiet, where he met drummer Christer Björklund, with whom he has since played very regularly. After leaving the band in 1983, he went on to play with a variety of formations, including rock band Sky High, in 1991, and Swedish world music group Hedningarna, in 1996, before setting up his own project, Beatundercontrol, with which he went on to experiment with electronic instrumental music, combining it with elements of dub, jazz and ethnic music. Ivarrson released his first album as Beatundercontrol, The Introduction, in 2003.

While Ivarrson hasn’t remained inactive since, it is only now, five years on from his first output, that he returns, this time on British imprint Malicious Damage, with Cosmic Repackage. On this sophomore effort, Ivarrson returns to the textures and sounds he devised on his debut, giving the core mix of dub, ambient and jazz greater depth and definition by constantly refining his soundscapes and adding new components. In just under fifty minutes, Ivarrson presents a deeply varied and entertaining collection of tracks which ranges from the groovy conglomerate of rock, dance and jazz found on Cosmic Repackage, Numb or Neighbourterror Blues to the elastic dub of Subversion Dub and the beat-less almost orchestral formations of Interruption, Departure or Finale.

Ivarrson sets the textural aspect of this record right from the start, with the dense layers of sounds of Intro, on which strings and piano themes are interwoven. This strong connection between electronic, acoustic and electric components reverberates throughout the album and contributes greatly to the overall mood of the record. During the long intro of All The Way (To Heaven), Ivarrson builds the rhythmic set up quietly in the background while wood and brass sections alternate in the foreground. As the piece gains momentum, the various orchestral motifs are applied with greatly aplomb, creating a curiously appealing set up, especially as the hypnotic bass line wraps itself around the beat more evidently.

The title track is a more upfront piece, but once again, brass elements draw the attention of the listener as Ivarrson sets his composition in motion, and are echoed further down firmly rooted over a driving rumbling groove. On Numb, Ivarrson appears to take the main theme of Morricone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and twist it by ‘jazzifying’ some of its sections and plunging others in electronics and effects. The piece has a slight improv feel and could find itself at home on some of Wibutee’s early records. The improvised impression is even stronger on the fiery Neighbourterror Blues, a piece which rises from its structured opening moments to the all-out sonic storm of its middle section before slowly dying out as a pulsating squelch and random noises are brought back under control. Hitting the last major blow of this record with Subversion Dub, which clocks at just under ten minutes, Ivarrson keeps the piece on a much tighter leash, spreading out his dense and dark dub as a trumpet casts a splendid shadow over it.

For his second effort as Beatundercontrol, Ulf Ivarrson puts all his experience as a musician to the service of his music and creates a strong and varied, yet consistent record. There is a great unity of sound throughout, which allows Ivarrson enough freedom to never stick to a particular set of rules, yet remain totally in control.


Icon: arrow Ulf Ivarrson/Beatundercontrol | Malicious Damage
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