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Dan Berglund

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by allthumbs, May 20, 2005.


  1. allthumbs

    allthumbs

    Dec 30, 2004
    South Devon, UK
    Caught EST in Bristol last night, they were fantastic. In particular I was impressed by their URB man Dan Berglund, who has an awesome tone - even heavily amplified - and did a bowed solo with distortion that you had to hear to believe (in a good way).

    Afterwards I queued up to get my CD signed and ask him what kind of set up he was using, especially as there seemed to be a large cannister of some kind stuck between the legs of the bridge - the like of which I hadn't seen before. He said it was "a microphone system". Not as detailed as I'd hoped, but they did have a lot of signing to do.

    He was using one of the little GK-MB 150 combos (just like mine :) ) but I've no idea what effects unit - if anyone knows I'd be very interested to find out, it's not on their website.

    Dan doesn't seem to have a thread on TB, so I thought I'd start one.

    Any UK Talkbassers who get a chance to catch EST on the rest of their tour, I'd recommend it. I think they're in London tonight (20th) and then various locations until the 26th.
     
  2. allthumbs

    allthumbs

    Dec 30, 2004
    South Devon, UK
    I've watched my (signed!) DVD and he seems to be using a microphone (AZT??) wrapped in foam which is stuck under the bridge so the mic is positioned horizontally, facing towards the fingerboard. There's also a Fishman Transducer on the bridge, I guess he must be mixing the signals. Looks a bit Heath Robinson, but sounds great.

    Effects-wise there's a Bass Pod balanced on top of the amp.
     
  3. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    When I saw them in Chicago he was using the mic and fishman like you describe. He was going through a GK head and 4x10 Hartke. His tone was a tad electric sounding for my taste but it worked really well for the music and they jammed. One of the best live shows I've seen in a while.
     
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Umm.... who/what is EST?

    and is "looks a bit Heath Robinson" another term for "jury-rigged"? or is Heath Robinson an actual person? :smug:
     
  5. I was wondering the same stuff....
     
  6. Aslan

    Aslan

    Sep 20, 2003
    Stockholm, Sweden
    EST is short for Esbjörn Svenssons Trio. (Esbjörn Svensson is the name of the pianist.) They though it would be much easier for non-Scandinavians to say EST... :D

    It's one of my favorite jazz bands with an extraordinary bassist!!
    Check them out!!!
     
  7. allthumbs

    allthumbs

    Dec 30, 2004
    South Devon, UK
    ... and "Heath Robinson" is indeed a term to indicate something that's jury rigged or lashed together. It refers to William Heath Robinson, an English cartoonist from the 1930s/40s who specialised in drawing weird contraptions held together by odd bits of string and tape.

    From Wikipedia:
    "The machines he drew were usually kept running by balding, bespectacled men in overalls. The machines were frequently powered by steam boilers or kettles, heated by candles or a spirit lamp; often there would be complex pulley arrangements, threaded by lengths of knotted string. Robinson's cartoons were so popular, that even to this day in Britain, the name "Heath Robinson" is applied as a shorthand for an improbable, rickety machine barely kept going by incessant tinkering. (The corresponding term in the U.S. is Rube Goldberg, after an American cartoonist with an equal devotion to odd machinery.)"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heath_Robinson

    I guess some of my attempts at soloing could also be described as some kind of musical memorial to Heath Robinson... :cool:
     
  8. I saw EST in the Bridgewater Hall (home of the Halle orchestra and IMHO like all halls built for accoustic classical music, not very good for amplified stuff) last night and heard EST and Svenson interviewed on radio three last week.

    Berglund was apparrantly using a borrowed bass and indeed it didn't look the same bass I saw him use last time and sounded more piezo-scratchy than I've heard him before.

    The first time I saw him he was using a mic between the bridge feet shielded with some bit of plastic or other (there might have been a pickup but I didn't spot it) into a Trace Elliot 4 by 10 (didn't spot the amp either.

    Last night he had a GK MB on a flight case behind him at head level, an effects pedal board and a monitor in front of him and foam between the bridge feet presumably round a mic. From the gallery I couldn't see much but got a better view of the light show though! They always used to thank 'Line 6' on their albums but didn't on the last one I noticed. I can't afford a bass-pod anyway.

    People got to there feet after last nights show. They were good and the support act (Eivind Ardset trio - great guitarist on other peoples records anyway) did its best to make them look even better.

    The material on their last cd was not very strong compared to their previous ones. However, they conjure up a great sense of occassion as they play, the understanding between the musicians is phenominal and make great use of dramtic devices with taste. They give the sense of a journey having taken place instead of the usual jog round the block back to the head again. Dynamics, space, sudden changes of mood and time, sections of insistant riffs and as discussed use of effects. Svenson has a great sense of melody (although the last album IMO didn't demonstrate this) making for a great evenings playing. One recurring device (I'm not claiming there is any novelty here - its how its done with such apomb) is the bass to double the melody or bass line played by a fast right or left hand by Svenson.

    One other thing this band does better than others is rythmic. Magnus Oestrom, the drummer, plays patterns others leave to drum machines but does so with subtlety and viariation that you can't do with a laptop (that the support act used). This imposes a precision of playing on the other members but they allow the music to breathe and ebb and flow together.

    By now, those that haven't heard it will realise it's not a swing band. Given IMHO the unjustified panning handed out to The Bad Plus on this site I hearitily reccomend listening to EST and figuring out if you could do this live. Their albums come accross very studio-y but whilst there are effects, there aren't any drum loops or sampling and the peices they play live, if anything, are more complex evolutions of what was recorded requiring even greater technique and understanding.

    The overall sound from a distance does vere towards the Bad Plus and indeed they have toured together. Whilst you might not like the obvious rock style in parts this is a serious band - and they sell out all over Europe.

    Like that other European giant, Jan Garbarek, what they do can seem to those listening to the overall sound and not figuring out what it takes to reproduce it, simplistic. But Garbarek has never had any immitators and niether has EST; yet both have shown there is a huge market for their stuff and which audiances regard as modern trendy and cool to-boot. The latter at least is usually a guarrantee of clones.
     
  9. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I liked the last album. It took me a while. At first I wasn't as crazy about it as the other EST cds I have. I had it on rotation in my car cd changer. The more I listened to it the more I started to understand.

    This album does lack to infectious melodies of previous efforts, but the textures they create are incredible. I hear a slight shift in EST's approach. If you watch the interview they even talk a bit about how the writing has become less complex and listening has taken an even more central role.

    Overall this record has become my favorite EST album to date. Different, yes. But you can really hear that they are pushing into new territory. I can't wait for the next effort to see where they go next.
     
  10. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    thanks for the heads up... I'll try and get some cds.
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I must admit I don't really like them - they always seem to be coming to Brighton and people are always asking me if I'm going and I get fed up explaining...:meh:

    I don't like effects on bass guitar, let alone DB and I'm really an acoustic purist in my listening tastes - also my taste in Jazz is completely away from this kind of thing...more personal and subjective to explain - but really I love to hear DB sounding as "acoustic" as possible and I really only truly enjoy listening to Jazz in small clubs - big venues are meant for orchestras, to me...:meh:
     
  12. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    I'm with Bruce on this one - they're clearly very talented musicians but I don't like the effects, and find them a bit boring...
     
  13. allthumbs

    allthumbs

    Dec 30, 2004
    South Devon, UK
    Like Bruce, I tend to prefer listening to jazz in smaller venues and you can count the number of "big" jazz gigs I've been to on the fingers of one hand.

    On reflection, I think one of the reasons I liked EST so much was that they were that jazz rarity: a long-term group, rather than a bunch of musicians (however talented) who'd just met in the wings and decided what tunes they'd like to play tonight. These guys have been working together for years, and it shows in the way they perform.

    Also, they looked as if they meant business and even had a light show (gasp). They won't be giving Pink Floyd any sleepless nights on the visuals front, but I thought it was a refreshing change to see some jazzers putting on a "complete" show, rather than turning up in a pair of old jeans, insisting the house lights are left up so they can see the music and imagining their lack of showbiz pretension will help the audience - if there is one - understand they're authentic musicians who've spent years mastering diminished scales, not one of those vulgar manufactured bands. ;)

    It's not just jazz: saw the London Philharmonic at the South Bank before Christmas and I'm sure a light show at their gigs would have helped during the quiet bits. At least they had some decent suits though.
     
  14. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I guess I don't think of them as 'jazz' in the purist sense. Of course this begs the question 'What is Jazz?' but that is a different topic. They admit that they approach the group more as a rock band.

    There are a number of groups out now that use traditional jazz instruments but really push the style. I think of MMW, The Bad Plus, and even recent efforts by Nicholas Payton (sonic trance) and Dave Douglas (freak in). John Scofield has also blurred this line between 'jazz' and 'jam band'. There are others too. The fact is that these records are selling. The Bad Plus had one of the best selling jazz records in America last year (behind Nora Jones, is she jazz?)

    (climb on soapbox)
    My point is the landscape of the style is changing. Rock happened. Funk happened. Lotsa stuff happened since the 60's. Some jazz has evolved in spite of the things that have gone on. Some (for good or bad) has embraced it. I have been exploring this with my group ESP (www.espjazz.com).
    (climb down)
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I like a lot of modern Jazz and music that has developed from other influences with Jazz - I think my favourite album of last year was Acoustic Ladyland's "Camouflage" - which is Free Jazz meets Jimi Hendrix.

    But for me it's about the notes - harmony, rhythm, melody - in no particular order - but if it needs light shows and effects to make it interesting, then my view would be it was lacking something in the first place - but I suppose it is a subjective thing - a lot of the rock music that I thought was great 20 years ago, now sounds very dull to me....:meh:
     
  16. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I definitely agree. It is all opinion. I also agree that sometimes glitter takes to much attention away from the music. The thing that I find interesting is that so many critics have a negative view of groups that are not following the norm. This is the way it has always been. They hated Bitches Brew.
     
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't know ...I've only ever seen good reviews of EST, but I still don't like them!! ;)
     
  18. allthumbs

    allthumbs

    Dec 30, 2004
    South Devon, UK
    I wasn't meaning to imply the lights were making up for EST's music being uninteresting. Personally I think it would still have been interesting if they'd been illuminated by some 40watt bulbs nailed to a plank, but as you rightly point out it is subjective.

    On the subject of effects: I've never been much of a one for effects with bass, but after hearing Dan B I thought I might be tempted to have a dabble.

    A thought: does applying EQ, compression, limiting etc constitute using an "effect"? They all change the characteristic of the basic signal and I guess most players who amplify a DB or EUB - even those who profess to be seeking pure, unsullied, effect-free tones - would use one or more of them without thinking about it. Maybe it's just a question of degrees.

    Anyway, I'm off to annoy the neighbours by playing On Green Dolphin Street through a fuzzbox. Nice...
     
  19. I second allthumbs - and it was subtle light effects more that a 'show' (although Svenson described it as a light show in an interview) that added atmoshphere. Otherwise they would just be a small blob on a large empty stage, completely lacking in any intimacy. As I see it (saw it?) it was like the candles at a romantic dinner - you wouldn't ask the waiter to take them away because the food should create all the atmosphere would you?
     
  20. Saw them by accident in London, and was floored. A great synthesis of styles. I really like it when people bring their own voice to the table with jazz instead of just imitating the past greats, and I think that E.S.T. are/were a shining example of this. IMHO, Dan Berglund brings rock into jazz much more convincingly than almost any "fusion" bassist I can name, aside form Chris Wood.