Samuel Hällkvist - Epik, Didaktik, Pastoral (EDP)

Samuel Hällkvist – Epik, Didaktik, Pastoral (EDP)

My musical journey following Samuel’s music began back in 2015 when I discovered his album Variety of Life which I was reviewing for The Progressive Aspect at the time. I have since followed his solo output and his work with Isildurs Bane with ever increasing interest. This particular album has been worked on for quite a while, and in Samuel’s own words “it is taking a long time“, due to this he released the album Dekorum Live in the meantime. There is only one track from that album here, Svedjebruk, also, there is a different line-up of musicians with Knut Finsrud and Anne Marte Eggen remaining with the new supporting cast of musicians. Samuel has a wonderful ability to seek out quality and like-minded musicians to help him take his musical visions forward.

Samuel wrote all the music for the album, which was recorded in Halmtad, Copenhagen, Sundon, Milan and Malmo. Mixing was done by August Wanngren and mastering by Morten Bue, along with some great cover art, again from Sophie Bass.

This album has a wonderful jazzy groove to the music, coupled with programming it draws you into this almost laid-back musical world, challenging at times but always with focus and direction. Samuel’s musical influences are stamped throughout, but they are just that, influences; this is definitely Samuel’s own sound, I am not going to point these out as discovering them while listening is part of the pleasure.

The opening track Vägen som Landet starts with a catchy repetitive groove aided by some careful programming, but on this track Samuel has added the jazzy tones of the trumpet, and what a clever move that is. The trumpet plays with, over and around the main melody giving a distinct jazz feel, but a modern one at that. It is the addition of the trumpet that has taken his music off, again, through more great experimental and exciting sounds. This continues on the next track, Utan Vilja, here it has an almost Zappa jazz styling, but retaining an original feel which becomes clear as the song progresses.

There appears to be a three song suite here, but they are spread evenly throughout the album; Dekorum I – hög comes first at track three, followed at five by Dekorum II – medel and lastly, at eight, Dekorum II – låg. The reason for spreading them may be the different approaches, the common linking theme between these songs being the use of programming and the consistent quality of the songwriting. That said, the tracks sit well in the listing of the album and their placement works very well. The last track, Svedjebruk, is the one that appeared on Dekorum Live. There is a difference between the versions, both sound great but for me this one may have the edge with its sharper sound.

All the tracks are of a very high standard and quality, with lots of depth contained within, the sometimes hypnotic programming used draws you in and allows the songs to develop in and around it. A lot of care and attention has gone into the creation of this album and, in my opinion, it has certainly been worth the wait, an interesting and enjoyable listen. It is due for release on Samuel’s 40th birthday, lets hope that its success will be a great present for him, and that he continues to develop his musical journey and make more great music.

01. Vägen som Landet (6:03)
02. Utan Vilja (3:35)
03. Dekorum I – hög (5:12)
04. Badboll Gles (3:15)
05. Dekorum II – medel (5:01)
06. 100 takter med piano (3:37)
07. Blåklocka Ängsklocka (4:20)
08. Dekorum III – låg (3:43)
09. Omstart (2:05)
10. Svedjebruk (4:45)

Total Time – 41:40

Samuel Hällkvist – Guitars, MIDI Programming
Knut Finsrud – Drums
Dick Lövgren – Bass (tracks 1,3,5,6,7,8 & 10)
Katrine Ampler – Sound Design, Programming (tracks 1,7,8 & 10)
Anne Marte Eggen – Bass (tracks 2,4 & 9)
Yazz Ahmed – Trumpet (tracks 1 & 3)
Luca Calabrese – Trumpet (tracks 2 & 6)
Noel Langley – Additional Trumpet (tracks 1 & 3)

Record Label: Boogie Post Recordings
Catalogue#: BPCD031
Country of Origin: Sweden
Date of Release: 20th August 2020

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