For seks år siden kom jeg over skiva Pandora`s Piñata av og med det svenske bandet Diablo Swing Orchestra og det albumet likte jeg virkelig godt. Nå har jeg gått og ventet på ny musikk fra svenskene. Det fikk jeg like før jul i form av verket med det tilsynelatende noe merkelige navnet Pacifisticuffs. Den skiva leverer igjen varene, og en høyoktan utgivelse, og svært original avant metal er det rikelig av på skiva. Mye jazz av swing typen, noen funky toner og mye klassisk innflytelse, og utrolig mye mer!
Orkestreringen er svært vidtfavnende men fungerende til tusen, og det mest av stilarter besøkes plutselig, og overgangene er en fryd å høre på. Siden sist er vokalisten AnnLouice Lögdlund forsvunnet, men Kristen Evegård er nokså annerledes men en fullverdig erstatter. Tittel Pacifisticuffs er bandet sitt nese pek til den kulturelle tilstanden i Sverige. Som forgjengeren er Pacifisticuffs en parade av forskjellige stilarter. Bluegrass, tango, disco osv snekret sammen med fabelaktig musikalsk forståelse og utførelse.
Ingen av låtene passerer fem minutters merket, og den ene låten flyter naturlig inn i den neste. Lytterne blir formelig tiltalende manøvrert gjenom forskjellige stemninger og sjangerere. Det gjøres på en så elegant måte at det er enkelt å følge den berg og dalbanen av stemninger, følelser og «sounds» som raser forbi. Diablo Swing Orchestra er en oktett, og de har med 11 gjestemusikere, men dessverre så er selve produksjonen ikke all verden å skryte av. Den blir noe bedre etter å ha lyttet noen ganger, men ordet flat er passende. Det er synd skal skje med et så åpenbart talenfult band.
Jeg må jo bare fortelle om hvordan bandnavnet ble til med mer:
The Diablo Swing Orchestra dates back to 1501 in Sweden, where history tells the tale of an orchestra that played like no other. With music so seductive and divine that the ensemble overwhelmed audiences all over the country, and people from all social classes took them to their hearts. Their performances rapidly earned a reputation of being feral and vigorous and gained the orchestra a devoted crowd that followed them around.
During the later half of the 16’th century the criticism against the royal crown dictatorial ruling had intensified. Gifts and tenancies had made the chruch extremely wealthy, and since the money merely was used to strengthen their power the discontent among the people was growing. To many people the orchestra presented them to a new view upon things and a way to cope with everyday life.
The church witnessed how their influence over the people decreased and began to depict the orchestra as treacherous, saying their intentions were anything but righteous. The orchestras extensive use of the prohibited tritonus interval in their music as well as their excessive lifestyles was facts that were not looked mildly upon. During church services priests slandered the music saying it was an insult to Christ himself. However, when this attempt to reduce the orchestras popularity failed, the church began to use more desperate measures in order to regain its former power.
The Devils orchestra became the slogan they used and the members were accused of being everything from devil worshippers to the spawn of Satan. This catchphrase eventually caught on and became the popular name of the orchestra. When even these efforts shown futile the church ultimately framed the orchestra members for a murder and a ruthless manhunt began. The following two years the orchestra lead the lives of outlaws and were forced to perform in barns and outhouses, where only a strictly limited number of people were allowed to attend. Luckily generous people provided them with food and somewhere to sleep.
In order to capture the orchestra the church issued a reward to the person that could provide such information that lead to the capture of the orchestra. The sum was so large that the orchestra, tired and weary of living as fugitives, realised that it all had come to and end. They knew that sooner or later someone would reveal their whereabouts and the decided to go down in style.
But before doing so they all signed a pact saying that their descendants were given the task of reuniting the orchestra in 500 years and continue their work of spreading thought-provoking music. Six envelopes were therefore sealed and given to trustees of the orchestra to pass on to family members.
They announced their final concert publicly as a grandeur finale. Thousands of people showed up and even though it was almost no one who could actually hear the music, the massive sing-along of the crowd granted the performance to be the most talked about in history. Thanks to the huge amount of people the orchestra was allowed to play until their last song when armed guards finally managed to storm the stage and arrest the musicians. They were sent prison and later sentenced to death by hanging.
Stockholm 2003, by mere accident two of the original orchestra descendants meet in a music shop and began to discuss music. It later shows that they both have received a strange letter from some ancient relative containing instructions on how to reunite The Devils Orchestra. They both become very excited and though some genealogy they managed to find all of the remaining successors in a period of three months.
Unfortunate all of the original scores were confiscated and burned by the church back in 1503. So music-wise the new orchestra were left with no directions on what to play. After some meticulous discussions it was agreed upon that the music should be like a modern version of the old orchestra. Annlouice was chosen to front the band, her angelic yet powerful operatic voice was perfect to bring a bombastic feeling to the music.
Pontus dance-influences and programming skills came in handy since the orchestra wanted the arrangements to sound a bit more futuristic. He shares guitar duties with Daniel who also is the main composer in the band. Andy brought some groove to the mix adding powerful slapping and funk-oriented bass licks, while Andreas’s energetic drumming made sure the songs are driven and pulsating. Together with Anders, he lays the solid swinging foundation of the band. Johannes’s theoretical knowledge and stunning technique combined with an emotive cello-playing style made him essential to the bands sound.