What is it with these Swedes?


Ian Fraser reviews A.T.S.O.T.E. for Terrascope:


What is it with these Swedes? After Goat have blazed a psychedelic world music swathe through festival land over the past 18 months or so say a big hello to Daniel Westerlund (if of course you haven’t done so already given that his other alter-ego The Goner has graced these pages on occasion).

Really, eclectic is hardly the word whilst understatement doesn’t seem to feature much in the vocabulary either. Banjos, sitars, raga and surf guitars and farfisa organ assail the sonic antennae and that’s just track one, the outrageously wonderful “Hexx”. Weird electronica follows in the barely corporeal form of “The Drug Behind The Drug” while “The Poor of Heart” further confounds any attempt at pigeon-holing our artist with an emotive helping of folksy, acoustic balladry. Bewildering, indeed, and this is just the first three tracks from nine (just under two score minutes duration in all).

Of the remainder, well it’s definitely worth picking out the eastern-tinged funk/strut of “Blind Tribe” with its delightful and infectious groove. “Traveller You Will Sing”, with its Fahey-style picking, could lay claim to being a long-lost acid-folk classic while “Hazel Motes at the Plastic Vortex” broods beautifully. Again that juxtaposition of banjo and eastern styling over an ethereal mist of sound is as timeless as it is enjoyable. The rest of the album eases up on the more outrageous and diverse delivery thanks to a couple of pastoral soft-landings but, taken as a whole, this is an enjoyably eccentric and quite compelling little offering that is well worth taking a punt on.