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Mattias Risberg’s Mining (Sweden) – Rubik’s Globe (sample track from album Magnitude the World)

Before we get into this can I make a few observations?

If any artist, band or ensemble is doing their own publicity rather than using an agent they need to observe some fundamental necessities.

For example don’t just send to a reviewer a few short introductory lines that don’t explain who you are, what you do and what your latest/EP/album/video single is about. It doesn’t need a lengthy tome either but don’t leave the reviewer scrambling for basics.

Then make sure your social media accounts are up to date, especially the ‘About’ section. All I ever seem to see these days is ‘Band/musician.’ I could have guessed that. Ditto artist information on streaming sites; provide a couple of nice, interesting paragraphs. What’s your ‘genre’, assuming you know what it is?

The reason is that we don’t have the time to find all this out for ourselves and more often than not we’ll hit the delete button.

And one of the reasons I didn’t do that with Mattias Risberg’s Mining is that the band name caught my attention. “What’s so impressive about diamonds, except the mining?” as Fiona Apple sang in ‘Red, red, red’. Also, after I did a little research, I discovered that numbered amongst Mattias Risberg’s ‘influences’ are Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel. That’s enough to prompt a hearing.

As it turns out Mr Risberg is a musician/composer with piano/keyboards as his main instrument. He is a composer, improviser and teacher from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. That’s another connection because only yesterday we featured a student there, Johanna Brun.

Moreover, he has a passion for old soulful instruments like the mellotron, Hammond organ, analog synths, pipe organs etc. How about a Chamberlin, Mattias? I just love the noise that thing makes.

And lastly, his field is primarily jazz, improvisation, art-rock, contemporary and he “loves to cross borders to other art forms,” often collaborating with other prominent improvisers.

As for the band, it appears to be a collective of such improvisers, a sort of jazz impro Polyphonic Spree if you can imagine such a thing.

The ‘mining’ arises out of the Stripa, an old iron ore mine (in central Sweden, about 90 miles west of Stockholm) that closed down and became a location for crafts and culture. The Swedes are good at that sort of thing as you will know if you have ever visited Dalhalla, an open air theatre located in a former limestone quarry near Rättvik, which is used as a summer music venue. The Grand Canyon of music.

Anyway it was at Stripa that Mattias Risberg performed the first four suites of ‘Mining’, 2018-2022, one suite per year except for the first pandemic year 2020. The fourth suite has now resulted in the album ‘Magnitude the World.’

I’m not sufficiently an aficionado of jazz improvisation but it seems that there is a wide range of styles across this album, some of them overlapping, and embracing jazz, classical, prog and symphonic rock.

And that’s why I selected the intriguingly named ‘Rubik’s Globe’ as the sampler here, a track that overlays the complex rhythms of the likes of Go-Go Penguin, with the virtuoso keyboard skills of an Emerson, topped off by a vocal contribution that I can best describe as jazz psych, again if you can imagine such a thing.

It isn’t easy listening, you can’t dance to it, unless you are a limbo dancer or off your head on the magic mushrooms, and there’s no melody to remember.

But if your idea of a good night in (or out, they do play live), is stroking your beard, swilling your craft beer and listening to something Louis Balfour of Jazz Club would archly describe as “nice”, then you’ve come home early.

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