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Comments wanted on Jonas Hellborg's 'Elegant Punk'.

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by DaveBeny, Jan 25, 2001.

  1. DaveBeny


    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    I saw 'Elegant Punk' in a local music store today, but decided against buying it, as I've never heard his playing before. I know he plays in a very chordal, guitar-like style, which definitely appeals to me.

    Has anyone out there got anything to say (good or bad) about this album? I'll buy it if opinions are good.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I haven't heard that one (it's from the 80s) but he was into a loud electric fusion style then compared to the more contemplative acoustic stuff he does now.

    His last few "ZenHouse", "Aram of the River" and "Good People In Times Of Evil" are all excellent but be forewarned that you'll hate them if you dislike Indian or Middle Eastern music.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    The ONLY Hellborg disc I have is ABSTRACT LOGIC(Shawn Lane is the guitarist; Kofi Baker, Ginger's kid, is on cans). Hellborg also has trio albums with Lane & Jeff Sipe(Aqauarium Rescue Unit)on drums. These particular releases are about GROUP improvisation; roll the tape, let's play, create, stretch out, etc. Very "Free"; at times very sonic & "chaotic"(?).
    Now I have heard that the latest Hellborg effort is in more of a composed vibe...not sure if this is the disc you're talking about, Dave. Is ELEGANT PUNK Hellborg's latest?
    Try http://www.audiophileimports.com Mark Tessier usually gives a little blurb about the discs he sells(or try http://www.fusemag.com
    there could be some more info there).
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I got "Elegant Punk" on vinyl when it first came out in the 80's, and it's definitely a milestone in the history of bass records. The first part of the album is entirely solo stuff played live on one fretted bass. The songs range from muted and introspective ("Glad to be Back From Paris") to completely friggin' bassalistically slaptastic ("It's the Pits/Slight Return"). There's also a thoughtful version of Jimi Hendrix' "Little Wing" that I feel is the best cover version I've heard of that song.
    The rest of the album has some doubletracked fretted/fretless duets and acoustic guitars. Jonas' sound throughout is bright and punchy, with lots of fret buzz. I remember reading a feature on Jonas in Guitar Player when this disc came out, and he was playing a custom-made 26-fret signature model bass with two humbuckers and a Shadow piezo bridge.
    Though there are definitely chops galore on this album, Jonas also has a very expressive, lyrical side and a thoughtful approach to phrasing that makes "Elegant Punk" a solid, satisfying album that encourages repeated listening. I haven't heard too much of his other stuff besides his work with the 80's Mahavishnu and a trio recording with Lane and Sipe called "Temporal Analogues of Paradise." He's definitely one of those people who has his own vision and doesn't follow trends.
  5. I am fascinated that he plays and records with the ABG as a solo instrument. Are there any other players who do that?
  6. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    As stated above.
    Great player.
    Great Album .
  7. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    What can I say, it's a brilliant album. I had to pay a fair amout for it (what equates to about $40, but it's out of print and well worth it). It's stunning. I must say, his cover of Little Wing is excellent, better than the original even! He goes through many ideas on this record. Tracks like It's the Pits, Slight Return are absolute slapfests (he's one of my favourite slap players, even though his draw dropping chops are something he often downplays) while others are beautiful chordal pieces. Rosa is another favourite, it goes through the first movement, a stunning chordal arrangement which resloves perfectly and then moves into a dark, almost melancholic "groove" with the Piezo's engaged.

    The whole thing is stunning, I must say. This record turned me on to Jonas and I've never heard him play better. Bombastic stuff. The production is slight foggy, but his tone cannot be denied. He uses his Italian-built custom with 27 frets, then fretted and fretless Wal's and also his famous Wal double neck (fretted/fretless). Interestingly, he also pays tribute to the makers of some of basses with the track "Wal".

    If you can get hold of this record AT ALL, please do. It is absolutely magnificent!

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