Samuel Hällkvist is a great artist, a guitarist and songwriter who has an active career as a member of Isildurs Bane, but also a varied and interesting one as a solo artist. He is inventive, never afraid to try new musical directions and his music always remains intricate. I have had the opportunity to review and follow a lot of his solo work, which has been an interesting journey, it is compelling, challenging and innovative in equal measure. Here Samuel has created a band with likeminded and skilful musicians to push forward some more of these musical ideas.
Samuel has never been afraid to use any of his musical influences towards creating the varied musical paths he treads, indeed it is this fact that makes his music so interesting. Forming Dekorum with fellow musicians Anna Marte, Stephen and Knut, they embarked on some live dates to gel their band ethos, this recording was not originally meant for release, but it ably demonstrates what they can do so it was decided to release it as an album.
Working on his new studio album, which, in Samuel’s words, “is taking a long time”, he thought it would be good to have a spontaneous release in the meantime. The studio release will have a different line-up from the live incarnation and most of the tunes from this release will not be on the forthcoming album. The live album was recorded at Inkonst in Malmö on the 18th September 2019, and it is the second night’s concert that is captured here. The band demonstrate a great understanding with each other, delivering the songs with focus and energy, the sound of a band enjoying what they are doing. The songs make use of interlocking guitars and a solid rhythm section, intricate, interesting and catchy. They are bluesy at times, with dashes of jazz and rock also.
The seven songs here were written by Samuel except track two, Stilstand I Vand which comes from Hällkvist and Hauch. The running time is around forty minutes with tracks between three and seven minutes long. The whole package is finished off nicely with some striking cover art from Sophie Bass.
Things get off to a bright start on In Girum II, the focus of the song starts to break up after around four minutes, causing an interesting, halting finish while never truly losing the idea of the song. To achieve this demonstrates a masterful way of playing, that could be reminiscent of King Crimson. The second track gives us a beautiful guitar to start, settling into an almost bluesy slow groove. Four and Return gets into another wholesome groove, halting and sparse at times but with some great guitar work that always holds your attention.
These tracks just give an overall feel of outstanding consistency, an excellent example of how Samuel crafts and creates his interesting music. This coupled with the musicianship on display make for an album that more people need to investigate, I am sure that it would appeal to many of you. I now look forward to hearing the forthcoming studio album, and what it will have to offer.
01. In Girum II (6:40)
02. Stilstand I Vand (5:16)
03. 4 and Return (7:15)
04. Swarm Robotics (6:42)
05. Gittar Al Dente (4:02)
06. Parabola (3:16)
07. Svedjebruk (6:52)
Total Time – 40:07
Samuel Hällkvist – Guitar
Stephen Sieban – Guitar
Anne Marte Eggen – Bass
Knut Finsrud – Drums
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Sweden
Date of Release: 29th November 2019