Essential New Music: Dungen’s “Häxan-Versions By Prins Thomas”

While prog and dub are rarely discussed together, this album makes a pretty strong case for bridging the two aesthetics together. Dungen is best known for a series of psych/prog albums that hit it big with Pitchfork readers despite being sung in Swedish. The original Häxan LP waxed the quartet’s soundtrack for 90-year-old silent film The Adventures Of Prince Achmed. While an instrumental record might seem like a detour for a band that writes “songs,” it showcased the group’s strong playing, evocative hooks and good taste in antique keyboard sounds, and turned into Dungen’s biggest project of the decade; they have devoted several world tours to accompanying the film. Enter Prins Thomas, a Norwegian producer renowned for his space-disco records with Lindstrøm. He’s ported the dub practices of post-production exaggeration and reimagination to Häxan’s tracks, lingering long over certain sounds and grooves. It’s not as swell as the original item, but if you already have that and want more, this will stuff your stocking quite nicely.

—Bill Meyer