Sunday Brunch — No Resistance. The story of the album where Seba took a break from drum‘n’bass

George Palladev 21.01.2019

Sunday Brunch — No Resistance. The story of the album where Seba took a break from drum‘n’bass

It’s amazing that so little has been said about this album. Even though the music can speak for itself, it’s interesting to know what made the drum‘n’bass figure who was gaining momentum record a house album. In 1998, 24-year-old Seba, who today needs no introduction even outside the scene (a Scandinavian icon liked by girls), was in limbo at LTJ Bukem’s label. And four years before that, he and a friend recorded a track that no one in Sweden wanted to sign. It’s a well-known story: Bukem, preparing for his appearance at a Scandinavian festival, was impressed by Sonic Winds, with which Seba ended his performance. The godfather of atmospheric jungle suggested a collaboration.

However, it quickly turned out that Good Looking turned out to be too tight for the young musician. Seba wanted to develop his sound, but the label stubbornly remained silent regarding the “Twelve finished recordings sent to the office of Good Looking”. The exclusive contract was also a burden, forbidding him from giving any tracks to third-party labels. All this time, Seba was working in Sweden and on one of the club nights in 1998, Stephan Grieder, the founder of the local house label Svek, approached him. Seba created two remixes of upcoming records for them, and then brought in Midsummer Day, which was rejected by Bukem for Good Looking’s next Earth compilation, where drum‘n’bass musicians released slow, funky and jazzy stuff, full of love and the charm of the seventies, when the innovators of the British music were children.

Jesper Dahlbäck

For remaking the original Midsummer Day, Sebastian was joined by his childhood friend Jesper Dahlbäck who loved tangible bass and was a house and techno musician with an obvious style. Jesper, together with Grieder, participated in the formation of the label. Seba, on the other hand, left Good Looking with great disappointment both in the music of his former patron, and in the genre in general: techstep, immersive neurofunk and hilarious nu jump-up with clownstep prevailed at the turn of the millennium; and no one knew what was coming, but it didn’t promise anything good.

One of the duo’s first records, 1999

Seba decided to take a break from drum‘n’bass. Together with Jesper, they took the name Sunday Brunch and released a record with Seba’s sister singing to the accompaniment of the Rhodes piano. Sunday brunch is a lazy mixture of a rich weekend breakfast and an informal lunch: a table bursting with food, almost turning into dinner. And this is what the collaboration of two Scandinavians sounded like in 1999. Seba also tried to release soft house alone.

Several of his records were released under the name Forme in the best traditions of lounge compilations of the early noughties. Now he hid behind his other name, Sebastian Nimrell. Business took off. Successful singles opened the way to a full-length album. Alexi Delano, associated with the Svek label telegraphed from New York: Robert Manos, a father and a singer, is flying to Sweden. His son lives in Stockholm. Try to meet him.

Robert Manos

Seba: “We took out a drum‘n’bass track we were working on and said to Robert, Would you be able to sing on this? He started to do this Studio One reggae thing. We said, There’s not one element of reggae in this song, and Robert said, Well I thought it was jungle. I said, No you have to listen to this track. He asked, What do you want me to do? I said, Think Marvin Gaye, and he just started singing and it took off from there.” On No Resistance, Robert Manos performed My World. Manos entered the Scandinavian scene, and later became an indispensable member of the trio of Seba+Manos+Paradox, coming with live performances to club cities.

(The track with Jesper was most likely Pieces with which Seba returned to the drum‘n’bass scene, having restarted his own label Secret Operations. The audience came to truly appreciate Manos’ voice in the liquid funk hit Move on in 2005 and again ten years later, when he became a frequent guest on sad future garage records. As it was later said, recording with Manos is already a victory.)

What Sunday brunch looks like

If you think of an album as a single canvas, this one shows a gradient. It smoothly transitions from one shade to another. After the title track with Mark O’Sullivan with the vocals for girls and the groove for boys, there are two similar tracks, Humla and Fjäril (bumblebee and butterfly) that are also similar to the samples from Space track Carry on, Turn me on. As with the entire label, the musicians didn’t try to sound international, preferring to give names in their native language, like Sommaräng or Lördag. Not everyone will understand, but many will look up the fascinating words with diacritics in the dictionary. In Fjäril, Anders Paulsson expresses the grace of soaring with a soft tenor saxophone. It appears that Seba used his parts inthe ten-minute Guidelines, which he later published in 2003.

From light tones to darker ones. The action proceeds to dinner in a candlelit restaurant. Clearly cinematic and somewhat similar, Sable Chaud and Rue Paradis hint at the twilight. The idea of the quietest music possible for recreation went through some changes. The further the duo went into full format, the more it turned out to be not just similar to, but actually fully-fledged club music. The album ends with an electrofunk reinterpretation of verything that was listened to—a decadent Sunday brunch turns into a midnight snack in the car. It’s hard to get rid of the emerging references to Detroit and one of the standards of early techno/electrofunk, Night Drive (Thru-Babylon). After all, both Jesper and Sebastian, in addition to their passion for jazz and house music, call techno their other passion. It also has a strong position in Sweden (unlike drum‘n’bass).

In addition to the countless divisions of music into genres, there is another category: the music that sounds fresh even after 40 years and the music that is outdated the very next day, not even talking about a year, and can be deleted with no regrets. Released in the autumn of 2002, No Resistance, even after all these years, sounds like it was released today. It’s a perfect gift for those who miss the sound of the early noughties.

Seba & Jesper. Sunday Brunch 15 years later