Release: September 1, 2023
We all have beacons of light in our lives, things we cannot be without. For Swedish guitarist Alf Carlsson, he has made the choice to dedicate his debut record under his own name to the most luminous of his personal lights, music. A modern amalgamation of jazz, rock, and Swedish folk music, ‘Lights’ is set to release on the 1st of September on Naxos Prophone Records.
Carlsson picked up the guitar at the age of 10, and spent his youth soaking up as much rock, pop, and jazz as he could. In his teenage years, with hair down to his waist and Metallica posters coating his bedroom walls, his parents took him to a Swedish folk music festival. The experience moved him deeply, and he’s revisited the festival every year since.
With his ancestry tracing back to a small town in Northern Sweden on the banks of lake Siljan, through ‘Lights’ Carlsson strove to showcase the multifaceted nature of his musical identity while exploring and reconnecting with Sweden’s rich folk music culture.
The record’s eight tracks contain six original compositions and two inventive interpretations of traditional folk songs, Gråtlåten (The Crying Tune), and Brudpolska Från Rättvik ((Wedding Song From Rättvik). Within the first minute, the listener is drawn in by the rich sound of Carlsson’s guitar, his honesty and technical proficiency, the ominously dark harmony and the refreshing recontextualization of a folk-tinged melody.
Rich modern production elevates the quartet’s interactive playing style, crafting their sound into a thick, immersive, intimate world of texture. Unison lyrical melodies carried by the guitar and piano are broken up by extended passages of energetic improvisations and ambient electronic soundscapes. Fulfilling his personal goal of dedicating his debut to the music that made him, ‘Lights’ leans heavily into all of Carlsson’s influences through distorted guitars, unabashed backbeats, and bluesy attitude.
The quartet is composed of in-demand musicians from Sweden’s vibrant scene; Carlsson’s career has already seen him play extensively all over Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden with the critically acclaimed Jirí Kotača Quartet, while his three bandmates can be heard in outfits including Bear Garden, Simon Zions Group, Cosima Olu, Norrbotten Big Band and more.
Alf Carlsson | Electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Samuel Löfdahl | Double bass
Anton Dromberg | Piano
Hannes Sigfridsson | Drums
Gråtlåten (The Crying Tune)
Brudpolska Från Rättvik (Wedding Song From Rättvik)
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