Switched On – Slumberville: Harmony (Nettwerk)

Reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Harmony is the first album from Swedish producer Sebastian Fronda under his new Slumberville alias. Fronda has been making music for more than two decades, labelled as one of Sweden’s hip hop pioneers, and has established a strong live presence in the Nordic countries with more than 500 shows.

Slumberville is intended as a moniker under which he can make lo-fi music, dipping into his hip hop sensibilities but  making room for samples and appropriations from a number of musical forms. For Harmony, he ‘Google-watched’ a number of different places around the world, such as Paraná River, assembling a set of travelcards to document his findings in musical form.

What’s the music like?

Slumberville veers towards the horizontal in his approach on this album, but there are some enjoyably quirky moments that keep the listener guessing. For The Win is quite spiky, with its staccato cello, while Chinatown plays loosely with an Oriental melody.

The  most enjoyable track is Paraná River, with a couple of winsome melodies over a low slung bass and endearing hip hop beat, but a close second to this is the singalong What A Great Feeling, with its dreamy optimism. Fronda’s musical humour ensures there are plenty of wry smiles throughout.

Does it all work?

It does, largely – though some of the ideas here could be more fully developed into more tracks double the length. This is a compliment to the humour and subtle inspiration that runs through these tracks and their source material.

Is it recommended?

It is. Slumberville has made a diverting, quirky album that is a good deal of fun. It has endearing, light humour, and its beats have a spring in their step that lightens the mood.

Listen

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