Torbjörn Zetterberg’s new record, Opinions, is not a conventional “solo” outing. It doesn’t represent the bassist, composer, and bandleader stepping away from all that to prove his mettle as a virtuoso unaccompanied improvisor. Anyone familiar with Zetterberg’s small group recordings needs no confirmation of his prowess. And anyway, strutting his stuff is not his vibe. Certainly not the vibe of this record, where the bassist plays more than bass, a solo venture on which he is occasionally joined by others. What we have on Opinions is something altogether different, nearly impossible to describe except in parts – minimal electronic/maximal prog/eco conceptual/experimental songform. With myriad instruments and multitrack studio composition, painstakingly assembled 2020-22, the LP’s tracks have an episodic nature, and in this sense – perhaps this alone – they connect with other parts of the Swedish musician’s oeuvre, his propensity for contrasting and juxtaposing sections, which can be deliciously heard on his records with The Torbjörn Zetterberg Hot Five or Torbjörn Zetterberg & Den Stora Frågen (including the latter ensemble’s 2019 CD Live, also on CvsD). But Opinions is a stand-alone work, a strange and wondrous personal adventure, a set of landscape miniatures contained in a bottle, each one equally abstract and actual, heady and guttural, melodic and textural, reaching for elements from across the musical map but never as pastiche, rather as deeply submerged influence, meditative result, a splash in icy water after the opium of sauna. Not your everyday solo record. Opinions introduces something particular: a chunk of raw coal buried far below surface that emerges faceted and glisteny.
All compositions and arrangements by Torbjörn Zetterberg, except ’Brevet Från Lillan’ composed by Evert Taube.
Recorded, mixed and mastered 2020–2021 by Torbjörn Zetterberg at home and in Studio Clavier, Stockholm, Sweden, except ’Brevet Från Lillan’ which was recorded in the zen buddhist monas-tery Zengården in Finnåker, Sweden.