ceo ceoWhite Magic
White magic is related to black magic, in some way, and magic, whether it be black, white or green, is related to the world of the paranormal, pseudo-science and, last but not least, religion (or the contemplation of and transcendental reflection on one’s own existence). Enlightenment, a new perspective on life and things like that. The purification of the soul. Infusions, teas. Dreamcatchers and Indian shirts and printed wolves. A lot of new age (just look at how Dick Dale ended up or the way Mike Oldfield is getting older). The thing is, to start levitating (artistically and metaphorically) can be dangerous. One can end up creating minutes of Nothing. In the case of ceo, Eric Berglund’s (the human half of The Tough Alliance and one of the creators of the Sincerely Yours label) new project, we could already see it coming after the prologue (intimate-apocalyptic, if one could call it that) which included a text stating that ceo was born in 1981, 1891, 3064 and tomorrow, in the post-Ibrahimovic and pre-Nectanebo II era. Even before time itself. ceo, like Legion, the schizophrenic biblical monster, has various names (one of them being Wii), and finally, after the lecture it is confirmed that ceo is eternity.
That said, let’s clear up something: the presentation that is “All Around”, the first track, could have been a Bach cantata, semi-classic and/or semi-electronic. The father of music already said: compositions do not necessarily talk about God, yet they have to turn into the way towards Him. Berglund, with “White Magic”, skips three or four steps on this stairway to heaven and he positions himself in a dimension that is totally respectful towards modern pop, tribal and the Balearic aesthetic, in a couch discourse, some kind of therapy of which the slogan is I Want To Be Happy. We could see it already in a marvellous video, “Silly Crimes” (where everyone could interpret whatever he or she wanted to, but, throughout, every scene was drenched in happiness). Something like what we hear on “Love And Do What You Will” - little screams of what appear to be women in swimming suits splattering each other and a pleasant, almost mainstream production: keyboards and guitars share the starring role over a mid-tempo rhythm. Are you disappointed in the latest jj effort? Destiny always hands you a solution, and this is one.
The Conjugation with easy-going electro-pop is reminiscent of Vampire Weekend, some Depeche Mode or Phoenix. With ceo, everything flows: the up-beat and original “Come With Me”, the sonic versatility in the rhythms and melodies referring to a bittersweet sensation that most of the time turns into adolescent happiness ( “No Mercy”), the moments of experimentation and progressive pop with keyboard riffs in “White Magic”. In every part there’s a search for beauty (the chorus of “Illuminata” or the Beatlesque attempt of “Oh Good Oh Dear” after a blurry ambient intro) and it smells of tribute to the 808 and cathedral-like atmosphere (in “Den Blomstertid Un Kommer”). However, under the surface of happiness and up-tempo songs, a sea of doubt remains. It reminds us of the fact that the man from Sweden appears to have all the answers but, similar to what happens with the big religions, the truth is he only has the questions. In any case it’s enjoyable, and ceo is one of the names to keep an eye out for this year and in those to come (read: “Eternity”). Jordi Guinart