Mago – Definition of raw moments from a different perspective

Thoughtless I put this cd in my player, without really knowing what to expect. I only had seen that the label infosheet mentioned the rather general description ‘file under: electronic/alternative’. But already after a few minutes this music fulled grabbed my attention. What a special sound! Really relaxed, moody electronics. Of course I then read some more info about Mago, and to my suprise the musicians behind this project are Jan Carleklev and Hakan Paulsson, better known for their work with Sanctum and Azure Skies. This will perhaps influence your expectations in a wrong direction, because the music of Mago really does not seem to have a lot in common with these harsher industrial projects.

The music of Mago is very moving, and creates a warm feeling. All songs are rather long and carefully built up, with quite some repetition, to achieve a trance-like effect. Most tracks are dominantly instrumental and electronic-based, with some guitar and organ sounds. On some tracks though (rather emotional) vocals can be heard, like for instance on ‘Like sand slips through my fingers’, an absolute highlight. Also marvellous is ‘Your mind blew across the grass in ripples’, which is quite danceable, with an irrestible ‘hook’. Not so strange, when you realize that the music on this album was originally meant to become a soundtrack to dance performances. Which is not to say that this is an album that will fill the dancefloors, beats are not the most prominent element in most tracks. But there is a certain steady flow on some songs, which really make you move, though there are also more introspective parts. I find this ideal music to listen to on a long train journey, when you are staring outside the window and letting your mind drift away.

This album is absolutely one of the best things I have heard this year! You can hear that is has been made with a lot of care and dedication. It would be a pity if it would only be confined to limited industrial circles, because I think this album has the potential to appeal to a broader, open-minded audience. By the way, the packaging is also very nice, a cardboard digipack, with a set of 6 loose cards. They contain texts and childhood images, which fit in well with the melancholic, sometimes nostalgic analogue music.

artist: Mago
label: Ad Noiseam
details: 9 tracks, 72 minutes. Release date: October 4, 2002.