It was apparent from Gunnar Jonsson and Joel Alter’s Olidan and En Livfull Skildring EPs that the Swedish duo like to take their time. Their tracks aren’t particularly lengthy or grandiose, but they tend to unfold with considerable patience, shifting less with subtlety than with deliberation and clear-headed finesse. These records’ refined, flowing vision of deep house sounds entirely primed for a full-length, and Jonsson/Alter have made good on that promise with Mod. The LP is only six tracks deep (minus a brief introduction), but still manages to convey the sprawling, unhurried elegance of a much longer work.
After “Dikt” introduces the record in spoken Swedish I’m at a loss to understand, “Acapellan” rides in on synthetic coos and a spiky acid bass line, which temper each other as the track progresses. The resulting sense of ease pervades the rest of the tracks as well, as nothing is allowed to get too harsh or too cushy. This may seem like a recipe for boredom, but really it shows the duo’s composure; the lack of overt surprises makes way for a cohesive sense of mood.
“Djup House” builds on the plush, dusky atmospherics of “Acapellan,” pairing sighs and an occasional “just don’t wanna dance” with minor chords and a slinky groove. “Dvärg,” which previously appeared on En Livfull Skildring, takes an unquantized, one-note bass line and wrings the acid out of it, its deep squelch undercutting the track’s airy synthetics. “Kyrka 2.0″ is a real standout, recalling Model 500’s seminal “Starlight” in its tranquil, tripping arrangement. Its bass line moves in circular, light-footed steps, and the persistent cover of shimmering celestial pads lends it a strong sense of wonder. “Hela Berget” is tonally similar to the previous tracks, but it’s easily the hardest charging piece here, less introspective and clearly aimed at the dance floor. Finally, “Tre Ackord” closes things out on a relatively subdued note; its solemn organ and languid motion — which build to a celebratory, almost jacking middle section — make it a superb final flourish. Mod is a finely balanced effort. Jonsson/Alter cooly present a variety of motifs, and while most are not entirely new, they’re spaced in such a way that magnifies why so many producers try for this particular style of twilit deep house.