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Cederblom, Henrik: Zobop

Swedish veteran musician Henrik Cederblom is likely best known for his involvement in the folk rock band Ben Fule, which was active in the ‘90s although I have never come across their music before. Cederblom’s 2019 solo debut is titled Zobop and suffice to say this has been a very nice surprise.

The music is centered around traditional Scandinavian folk, rock and jazz. This is a very melodic disc and the playing is really quite exquisite, beginning with “Giragala”, a wonderful fusion of folk, rock and jazz. The sax and guitar is quite catchy before the band enters a very atmospheric and moody improvised section that is a real trip for the senses. The traditional “Fillevaeren” features tasty rhythm guitar and saxophone while the more serene “Franx” is filled with some of the prettiest guitar and sax on the disc. The guitar picking in “Sköldpaddan” is another album highlight.

I can’t help but think Zobop would have featured prominently in my 2019 ‘best of’ list as it is truly an excellent album. Any fan of superb guitar playing would be wise to give this album a chance. Recommended.

The band is:
Henrik Cederblom (guitars, lap steel, beats)
Viktor Turegård (electric bass)
Tapha Ndiongue (drums)
Sten Källman (tenor and soprano saxophones, percussion)
Finn Björnulfson (percussion on track 7)

Track Listing:
1. Giragala (6:53)
2. Fillevaeren (4:05)
3. Franx (4:34)
4. Sköldpaddan (3:52)
5. Drömmen (5:37)
6. Happy Buddha (4:47)
7. Zobop (5:27)
8. Bergrummet (6:14)

Added: July 25th 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1019
Language: english

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Cederblom, Henrik: Zobop
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-07-25 16:40:16
My Score:

Having been a part of the band Den Fule and leant his talents to artists such as Freddie Wadling, Daniel Lemma, Sofia Karlsson and Timo Räisänen, guitarist Henrik Cederblom is stretching out on his own as he packs a pocket full of Zobop. Bringing together folk and fusion may not be the most obvious way of making that exclamation and yet as this stunning sounding album sidles on by so it proves just a little too intriguing to ignore.

Opener “Giragala” signposts the way, saxophone from Sten Källman a beacon that calls true and proud against a fully melodic backdrop. That it’s followed by the altogether more angular but still beguiling “Fillevaeren” - a traditional Norwegian folk song that I doubt has ever sounded like this before - proves that we’re on no straight path. It is however an exciting voyage, with, again, Källman given a surprisingly gracious amount of space to shine but this time his band leader is a more obvious sparring partner, guitar strumming and humming its way back and forth from the spotlight. With the rhythms locked down in the loosest of styles by bassist Viktor Turegärd and drummer Tapha Ndiongue, there’s as much life in this department as there is elsewhere. The snare drum pops and cracks, the bass surges and bounces and yet they are conjoined in their excursions and never do they venture too far from their given task.

With the likes of “Franx” more of an ebb and flow of emotions and “Sköldpaddan” (which translates to “The Turtle”) a patient meander, the mood and intention can change within a few mere seconds but always in a way that ensures your still thoroughly part of the journey. The latter especially allows Cederblom to stand out, the smooth fret play considered and yet forceful as it takes the wheel for a minute or two. “Happy Buddha” again adds a few more twists and turns but all in a restrained style, although it’s maybe the closing “Bergrummet” where the most languid lines are laid down.

Fusion and folk shouldn’t work but in the hands of Henrik Cederblom they clearly do. The overall mood here is maybe just a little too relaxed for all occasions, but the approach is so convincingly illustrated right across Zobop that it is very difficult not to fall under its spell.

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