Erik Dahl

REVIEW: Erik Dahl Ensemble “Everyone’s Too Sad For Everything”


Erik Dahl Ensemble – Everyone’s Too Sad For Everything

This treatment is a bit jazzier with subtle sounds akin to what you might hear from Carla Bley with touches of even the melody-drama of the legendary Moondog (“Bird’s Lament”). However, this has a distinctively modern precise feel over the sonics & inflammatory passages that often accompany Bley’s work. But that’s what she’s known for. She’s whiskey straight & the Erik Dahl Ensemble is whiskey with a splash of ginger ale. The alcohol content is the same.

Erik Dahl

The double bass of Viktor Reuter can be felt supporting this piece. It anchors wonderfully as the instruments ride headlong into the abyss, crisscrossing one another with gentle drifts on “Lagim.” This would make good music in a noir film. The final piano notes are dramatic in the way Henry Mancini added piano to the music of the soundtrack “Experiment In Terror.”

Recorded in Sweden by Ake Linton there are 10 themes that encompass Everyone’s Too Sad For Everything (Drops Sept 14-Svalka/Hemifran). It’s an LP more concerned with atmosphere, mood & depth than just decorative flourishes & intensity. “The Woods Within” is so woven — the woodwinds have a sweet resplendence toward the coda. Then, it’s all sprinkled with ominous piano notes that send a little chill down the spine. There’s a slick sting of impending doom but that never really settles in the flesh – it’s just a suggestion that never materializes.

The effort made is the precision performance of music doused in melancholy with a sophistication to its arrangement that doesn’t allow any negativity to linger. The late British jazz pianist Keith Tippett experimented with this facet on his 1971 LP by Centipede — Septober Energy. Allowing the melodies to hover over the extraneous performance with a gloominess diluted by the loveliness of the composition & the instrumental interplay that’s seldom played as a downer.

It’s music that instead of pulling at the heart or soothing the frazzled brain dazzles the senses & imagination.

This music works far better with headphones with a bottle of expensive whiskey to allow the notes played to enter the conscience & get melodically high naturally. When your eyes are closed & undisturbed the music will conjure images solely your own. The music may have been composed by Erik Dahl, but the visibility will form through your own gray matter. Start with “Nocturnal,” a short piece that is more percussive in a Carla Bley manner. This intense musical expose is a delight. It will transport, no tickets required. 


Highlights – “Lagim,” “The Woods Within,” “The Fragile Ones,” “Nocturnal,” “Unfolding,” “Vulkan,” “Ceremony” & “Too Sad.”

Musicians – Anna Cochrane (violin/viola), Anna Malmstrom (clarinet/bass clarinet), Andreas Thurfjell (alto/baritone sax/clarinet), Erik Fahl (piano/electronics), Viktor Reuter (double bass) & William Soovik (drums/percussion).

Color image courtesy of the Erik Dahl Ensemble Bandcamp website. CD @ &

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