5

Samuel Hallkvist: Return to Center

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Return to Center is a detailed staging of a sonic meeting between man and machine. Swedish, Denmark-based guitarist Samuel Hällkvist, on his third solo album, contrast the digital exactness of MIDI programming with the human qualities and modes of expression that we traditionally associate with acoustic instruments. Thus Hällkvist and like-minded associates orchestrate a nuanced texture that bridges the natural timbre of acoustic instruments and inventive sonic manipulations and treatments that push the sonic envelope to new frontiers.

Hallkvist and his fellow musicians aim to transform and expand the sonic range and possibilities with electronics, manipulations and treatments to create a new sonic unity. On five tracks he employs a quartet comprised by him on guitars, bassist Johannes Burström, drummer Knut Finsrud, and Nils Berg on bass clarinet. These pieces are more reserved and sound like a futuristic, left-of-center quartet that questions the traditional role of each instrument within this band, and its respective role as creating an emphatic interplay. "Persona," for example, mixes a distant West-African guitar phrasing, contemplative clarinet playing, and redefines the musical spectrum of the rhythm section.

The more powerful and daring pieces are solos or duos with distinct improvisers. The solo pieces, as "Four And Return" and "Variety Of, 5-6" sound as musical segments prepared for a modern ballet troupe or for an abstract play, each offer a nuanced texture that calls for parallel dynamics on stage. Swedish drummer Morgan Ågren challenges Hallkvist through tight exchanges of ideas on "Chord." The two duets with close associate, drummer Pat Mastelotto, "Handshake, Hug" and "Helle Hollis," sound as draft for a prog-rock mini suites. Both explode with ideas, twists and dramatic tension. British trumpet player Yazz Ahmed's evocative phrasing adds a clearer storytelling narrative with a light Middle-Eastern touch. The pieces with Spanish vocalist and violinist Elena Setien succeed in offering an engaging exchange of inventive vocal and violin articulations with processed sounds that gently flirt between acoustic, manipulated and treated.

Hallkvist, as on his previous album Variety of loud (Boogie Post Recordings, 2012), manages to create fascinating textures that offer new possibilities for the musician and computer-machine.

Track Listing

Grey Mélange; Chord; Variety Of, 6-7; Four And Return; Dg Family; Rk Excerpt; Persona; Variety Of, 5-6; Handshake, Hug; 5-6 Graceland; Krasta-P; Mélange; Helle Hollis; Shopping, Centre; The Staff Will Be Wearing Bandanas.

Personnel

Samuel Hällkvist: guitars, strings instruments, midi player piano, treatments; Johannes Burström: bass; Nils Berg; bass clarinet; Knut Finsrud: drums; Yazz Ahmed: trumpet (3,12); Elena Setien: violin, voice (6,10); Morgan Ågren: drums (2,15); Pat Mastelotto: drums (9,13).

Album information

Title: Return to Center | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: BoogiePost Recordings

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.