I will be honest with you, this special work is for the open minded music lover. You will have to put some time and your full attention into several listening sessions to unlock this treasure box. You must have an open mind to appreciate this brilliant mix of progressive rock, jazz and contemporary classical music with avant-garde influences. The composer, arranger and performer of the two compositions that you will find on this album is Erik Hammarström. We know him from bands and projects like Anglagard, All Traps On Earth and Brighteye Brison. This solo album with the title “Glodhet Rytmisk Svarta” has been released on the AMS Records label. The physical promo was given to me when I met Erik after a brilliant All Traps On Earth performance at the Night Of The Prog festival in Germany this year.
Erik Hammarström - drums, cymbals, percussion, Electric bass
For a long time Erik has had an obsession with polyrhythms and odd meters in music. They are constantly going on in his head. Before he knew it, the creative process took over and he found himself adding rhythmic layers, instrumentation, new motifs and ostinatos to the ideas that he had in the beginning. These rhythms or motifs find their way through when he is at the drums improvising or when he is writing music.
As a great admirer of Bartók, Stravinsky, Messiaen and other famous composers of the 20th century contemporary music, he had always the dream to write music with classical orchestral instruments together with the drum set as a solo instrument.
And this is exactly what you can expect to hear on this remarkable album. You can find two long classical suites here. A 34 minutes long suite that is divided into 9 parts ( “Glodhet Rytmisk Svarta” 33:58 ) and a 15 minutes long suite that is divided into 4 parts ( “Iskallt Morkt Vatten” 15:05 ). The first one and the one that gave the album it’s title is a piece for strings, brass, clarinet, flute, celesta, percussion and drums. The intro has a very dark timbre and dense tone of harmony. On top of those dark orchestration layers you will find drumming with complex rhythms and polyrhythms. The drum set is the solo instrument here. For a reviewer it is almost impossible to describe this intelligent music. In order to make it all work out with playing the drums and percussion on top of the orchestral instruments, the rhythms would need to be very precise to sit well together. That must have been a challenging task, so I am very impressed. The only drummer I know who can play such kind of music is Maestro Terry Bozzio. That is also the only reference I can give you. Just because it is highly original music that is complex and at the same time intriguing. All these pieces merge seamlessly together. In the later parts the tension of the music is slowly building up. The closing part “Flamugn” has a nice orchestral and symphonic ending with some amazing drumming on top of it. Wow ... there is so much going on in this first suite. If you are open minded and adventurous, please take your time to check this out. The second suite is a piece for strings, brass, harp, bassoon, percussion and drums. Also in this piece you can find very complex percussion and drum parts. But on the other hand instruments like harp and bassoon give the piece that contemporary classical atmosphere. Several times I had to think of Stravinsky and Bartók. This is only the second time I mentioned those kind of classical composers in one of my Progressive Rock reviews. The first time was when I mentioned Stravinsky in a review of an Anima Mundi release.
With this remarkable album Erik Hammarström intertwine the world’s of progressive rock and contemporary classical music. It must have been a tour de force to workout all those ideas. Only after several listening sessions this album will reveal it’s true beauty. An impressive performance... accomplished with great skill. This is not for the faint hearted music lover. Please open your mind and enjoy the music.