It?s rare to find a release that would work equally as well in the past as it does today. Eric Malmberg?s ?Verklighet & Beat? is just such a record. Comprised of instrumentals driven primarily by organ and synth, and filled out with horns, drums, bass, and much more, this album sounds familiar upon first listen, and is simply a joy to hear with each successive go round. Something about this music shouts Europe in the seventies to me, which is perhaps because I was exiled with my family there for five years during my childhood. There is a casual comfort to these long form pieces that grabs you and holds on until the end of the album. There is also an almost childlike simplicity to the melodies which speaks volumes of Malmberg?s ability to craft strong and effective music.
There is also a noted lack of pretense, irony, or arty trickery to this release and that is a welcomed thing. Malmberg is confident to let these pieces stand on their own merit without clouding their strengths with nods to the conventions of musical fads.
The playfulness of this album is also nice to hear in an era of such seriousness in music. And, the trick to this is that Malmberg never falls into the trap of trying to be clever. He is simply masterful at using the history of instrumental pop from the last two decades to his advantage.
This album plays like a soundtrack to a long lost film full of sparse, lingering shots of a setting sun casting shadows through leaveless trees, and silhouetted characters silently walking along in the crisp air.
With ?Verklighet & Beat?, Eric Malmberg deserves every little bit of attention he receives and then some. This is a testament to not only his talents as a writer, but also to the power of keys driven music to create a soundscape both compelling and fun from beginning to end. 10/10 -- John Cramer (31 October, 2007)