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Dungen - Haxan album review

The Swedish psychsters return with a bewitching soundtrack

Cover art for Dungen Häxan

Dungen frontman and founder, Gustav Ejstes, much like Steven Wilson, is a player able to sift through the adventurous sonic explorers of the 60s and 70s and return from the vaults with something original. Asked to create a new score for the 1926 animated silent movie, The Adventures Of Prince Achmed, Dungen respond with a powerful suite of instrumental-only music.

With a certain degree of retro-refitting that echoes Floyd’s soundtrack playbook, citing Saucerful Of Secrets and especially More, small episodes, tightly-packed with spectacle and rich in exotic textures offer a generous and significant listening experience. Oblique and mysterious when required, perhaps the biggest surprise is just how much it bristles with memorable hooks and earworms. With some stark contrasts designed to signpost different moods, playful, easy-listening flute interludes teeter incongruously next to intense, explosive rock work-outs, leaving Reine Fiske’s distortion-rimed notes to slither out over vertiginous chasms of reverb. Darker, Mellotron-propelled fantasias spread icy patterns over Johan Holmegard’s motorik beats helping form standouts Achmed Flyger and Jakten Genom Skogen, creating glorious pictures for the mind.