Jonsson / Alter, For You

[Kontra-Musik]


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Henrik Jonsson and Joel Alter make house. Skudge make techno. Despite this point of difference, I can’t help thinking the two duos are quite similar. Both originate from Sweden, for one. More significantly, though each pair use traditional sounds, their sharp arrangements result in modern, distinctive work. There’s also their shared fascination for stripped, loopy aesthetics. Last year, Jonsson and Alter’s debut album showed off these characteristics well — “Dvärg” in particular. Despite its small set of sounds, it was full of life — the result of a precise and unusual arrangement. After their first listen, who could forget that blobby bass line ranging back and forth?

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For You sees the duo exploring more linear territory. Little time is found for detours, once themes have been established. In the title track, wavy organ chords and a Eric Clark’s impassioned vocals are the focus, percolating unhurriedly about. In “Ljuset,” ethereal synths gently flaring over meaty drums. Compositionally, neither track is as exciting as the aforementioned “Dvärg,” and nor are their timbres as arresting as those found in tunes like “Djup House” or “Jätten.” They’re much more static, relying on subtle changes to nurture attention. Still, both sides work. Even at less than their best, Jonsson and Alter’s robust beats and careful tweaks are head and shoulders above the pack.

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