Dungen

Häxan

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

This far into Dungen's long run of making brilliant psychedelic music that relies as much on the soaring atmosphere they create as it does on their melodically entrancing songs, it's surprising that they never did any soundtrack work. The release of Häxan changes that. Sometime between the release of 2010's Skit I Allt and 2015's Allas Sak, the Swedish quartet was asked to provide a score for the 1926 animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed. The band and producer Mathias Glavå worked meticulously in analog, doing everything by hand to capture the loose and improvisatory sessions. The resulting music was made both to track with the film and stand on its own as a collage of vibrant sound and shifting emotions. Dungen call on all the musical styles they've done in the past, from sweeping guitar rock to jazz that ranges from free to pretty straight-ahead, from late-night psychedelic jams to pastoral meanderings and lots of guitar exploration. Mixed in among the stylistic variants are shimmering organs, melancholy Mellotrons, abstract flutes, drums that range from pounding like thunder to drifting like clouds, and the occasional straight-ahead melody that sounds like it could have been taken from one of their poppier albums. Dungen flow between moods and atmospheres like sonic wizards, conjuring up darkness, light, and everything in between. They prove to be naturals at soundtracks, creating something here that works like they said it would. While no doubt the score would work in perfect tandem with the film, it stands alone as a sterling example of the band's mastery of psychedelic music.

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