Samuel Hällkvist likes to take melodies and rhythm on inspirational journeys to create music that is as dazzling as it is compelling. Just a line of the first paragraph of the information sheet that was included with my promotional copy of the album entitled “Samuel Hällkvist & Variety Of Rhythm”. The album has a duration of almost 44 minutes and includes only one long track with the title “Variety Of Rhythm Suite”. Samuel made several albums (“Variety Of Live” - 2015, “Return To Sender” - 2013, “Variety Of Loud” - 2012, “Samuel Hällkvist Center” - 2010) and made contributions to albums of other musicians. The best known for progressive rock audiences are Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) and the Swedish ensemble Isildurs Bane who made a wonderful album together with Marillion vocalist Steve Hogarth. You can find a review of that album, “Colours Not Found In Nature”, here on progVisions. The new Samuel Hällkvist album is released on the Boogie Post Recordings label.
Samuel Hällkvist - guitar; Dick Lövgren - bass; David Torn - guitar; Liesbeth Lambrecht - violin; Pete Drungle - keyboards; Yasuhiro Yoshigaki - drums; Kumiko Takara - percussion; Quarin Wikstrom - voice; Knut Finsrud - drums; Paolo Chagas - saxophone; Silvia Corda - misc; Adriano Orru - bass; Katrine Amsler - editing, sound design, programming
Well this is not an easy album to review. Samuel has an unconventional approach to play his guitar. Maybe he could be compared to the guitar player David Torn, who is also contributing to this album and has produced his previous album. Richard Barbieri (ex Japan) who also contributed to one of his albums (“Variety Of Love”) says; “I like the way Samuel mangles his guitar sounds to produce the weirdest textures and glitches. His playing is always tasteful and integrated into the song - there’s no showiness or overplaying”. I only can agree with this statement of Barbieri. The only composition of this album could be seen as a long soundscape with shifting rhythms, swirling electronica and free-form improvisations. The album was recorded in Tokyo, Halmstad, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, New York, Paris and Malmo between March 2015 and January 2017. The suite sounds like one piece of music. This is a big compliment because the suite’s building blocks are a combination of composition, extended variations and improvisations. The music is a kind of progressive rock which is heavily influenced by jazz and classical forms. Sometimes you can hear that the experimental side of Isildurs Bane shines through the music.
“Variety Of Rhythm” the new album of Samuel Hällkvist is an album for the open minded music lover. If you are into the experimental side of Isildurs Bane and improvised jazz forms with electronica injections, please check out the BandCamp page of Samuel Hällkvist. And to all the Isildurs Bane fans, stay tuned on progVisions because this band has already finished their new album. As I said before, this “Variety Of Rhythm” is food for the open minded music lover.