Dirty Loops – Blazing in the Baltic with Bassist Henrik Linder… Sometimes in one seeming fell swoop, a new force enters the music realm. Ladies and Gentleman…….. witness the force that is Dirty Loops. A fusion band masquerading as pop music is what these guys are up to. Bassist Henrik Linder is about as formidable as one gets on the 6- string electric bass. His solo on the Justin Bieber cover “Baby” is jaw-droppingly intense, virtuosic, and melodic. His performance on the YouTube video of “Baby” is one of those watershed moments on the instrument, for me almost as memorable as when I heard Victor Wooten’s solo on “The Sinister Minister” for the first time. Whereas Victor made a giant leap forward, it’s like Henrik is making a giant amalgamation forward. His technique is an integration of: Flea (his first big influence), Gary Willis (HL has ramps on his basses), Matt Garrison, Jaco, Victor, Pattitucci, and seemingly, every other fusion bass phenom. On “Baby” alone he throws out a considerable array of techniques. Harmonics, tight burpy Jaco bump, Flea-style slap in the second verse, and then………………The Solo. With a flurry of fast triplets, the New Bass Lesson commences. His command of the instrument, and Music in general, is something to marvel at, at least for me. Mid-way thru the solo, things really kick into gear (awesome band dynamics) and by 2:15 or so, the interplay between drummer Aaron Mellergardh and Linder becomes somewhat of a dual solo. By the end, Linder throws in a quick Van Halen-style two-handed riff just for good measure. Henrik is ferociously pyrotechnic, but very chilled out in demeanor, lending him a Ninja-like quality. On bass he is an absolute master. There are a lot of great players on the planet, but what really sets him apart for me is that he’s doing it in a pop song context.
That means that there are females at their shows, as opposed to the ‘fusion dude ranch’ of music geeks who would ordinarily be in attendance at a show with musicianship such as this. Sounds a little sexist, but a lot of you know exactly what I’m talking about. While the pop girls are being wowed by singer/ keyboardist Jonas Nilsson’s looks and voice, they are being musically assaulted by the Sheer Power of Dirty Loops collective black-belt level abilities, which are simply ridiculous. Drummer Aaron has gospel-chops level ability, and has that same effortless power that bassist Henrik displays in such abundance. Nilsson is a spirited vocalist, kind of like Stevie Wonder but with more acrobatics. As a keyboardist, he is fully a match for his bandmates. They all have an amazing rhythmic pocket, individually and collectively. Their groove and time are just ridiculous.
They are the world’s greatest cover band. Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga all get the DL treatment, and, in addition to Bieber, ought to be getting a little nervous at having these Swedish bulldogs (they went to music academy in Stockholm) breathing down their necks. Great stuff. I am tempted to write more, but no one needs any more superlatives at the moment. The bar has been raised yet again.