[22 January 2008]
A kind of album-length rendering of “A Day in the Life”, Morning of My Life completes the obscure folk trilogy started by Swedish musician Nicolai Dunger. A forty-two minute digestive nightmare, this kind of record works best if you toss away all expectations of what the word ‘cerebral’ represents to you and immerse yourself in Dunger’s nostalgic memories of youth. Maybe it’s the Swede in him, but morning was not a peaceful time of day: the first few minutes are channelled through a clashing, wailing horn that cries out across an imaginary landscape, calling to arms a vast array of instruments that all seem to overlap freely (and dissonantly) with each other—saxophone, chunky pianos, a muted trumpet, acoustic guitars and violins. Dunger’s voice is deeply passionate, well-suited to the richly textured folk music he smothers himself and us in without irony, while at times he is a dead ringer for Van Morrison. Morning of My Life is itself more or less an artistic extension of that artist’s Astral Weeks and the underlying idea of an Impressionistic song cycle. Then again, it’s easy to forget that it is a long haul to get through this forty-minute block of a song. Van Morrison would probably be proud; the rest of us while find it worthwhile listening once every five years or so.