Samuel Hällkvist is no stranger to creative collaborations, having played with many phenomenal musicians and contributed to several albums across various genres, including jazz, progressive rock, country, electronic and metal. We may be a little late picking up his latest offering, ‘Sustain’, but we were clearly missing out. Previously unreleased, the track was originally recorded during the same sessions that yielded Epik, Didaktik, Pastoral, one of our Album Picks of 2020. Left out then, the composer and guitarist extraordinaire has revisited ’Sustain’, this time with Swedish singer/songwriter and producer Julia Ringdahl aka Kavi Kwai as a vocal contributor. Speaking about their collaboration, Hällkvist explained:
“The track was originally instrumental and intended to be on my album Epik, Didaktik, Pastoral but I felt like it was missing something so I had to put it aside until the right time. When I read that Kavi Kwai recommended one of my records on a blog somewhere, I thought it would be interesting to do something together since I really like what she does – that song might come in handy and get a little different direction. It quickly turned out that it was a great idea.For me, Sustain is about contemplation and not taking anything for granted, which feels very relevant for this time on so many levels.”
Epik, Didaktik, Pastoral, the brand new album from composer and guitarist extraordinaire Samuel Hällkvist, is one of the most thrilling surprises of this summer. Released last week through BoogiePost / Burning Shed, the album is a wild and wondrous ride, filled with exciting and unexpected shifts throughout its ten original compositions, and flirting with a variety of genres and influences, from jazz and country to metal and electronic. Fluent in both composition and improvisation, Hällkvist displays his staggering inventiveness, offering a bold and refreshing contemporary album, bursting with sound colours and grooves.
To bring Epik, Didaktik, Pastoral to life, Hällkvist enlisted the help of a slew of talented players, including trumpeters Yazz Ahmed, Noel Langle and Luca Calabrese, bass players Dick Lövgren and Anne Marte Eggen, Knut Finsrud on drums and Katrine Amsler on sound design and programming.
For an exhilarating taste of the album, here’s one of the album tracks, ‘100 Takter med Piano’.
Last October guitarist and composer Samuel Hällkvist released Variety of Rhythm, a record that instantly got us under its spell. For the Copenhagen based Swedish musical wizard, the word prolific seems a bit of an understatement; Hällkvist has already contributed to more than 20 albums. With immense technical skills and an audacious and experimental approach to composition and improvisation, his work spans genres from jazz and country to metal and electronic. So we're ecstatic to have him at the helm of this month's mixtape, a collection of tracks filled with discoveries, surprises and beauty. We warmly recommend you jump aboard right away!
Lars Hollmer – Stråk [Krax]
Markus Reuter feat. Sonar & Tobias Reber – Condition I [Ronin Rhythm Records]
Steve Reich – Sextet: 3rd Movement [nonesuch]
Shitney – Magnetosphere Shower [ILK Music]
mu-neujohn – Dynamismo [Impulse]
György Ligeti – Musica Ricercata 7: Cantabile, Molto Legato [Verso]
Nick Bärtsch’s Mobile – Modul 29 [Tonus-Music-Records]
Ukandanz – Lantchi Biyé [Dur Et Doux / Bigoût Records]
Terry Riley & Nice Opera String Quartet – Derveshum Carnivalis [Sri Moonshine Music]
Art of Noise – The Army Now [Island Records / ZTT]
The unstoppable guitarist extraordinaire Samuel Hällkvist released his new album Variety of Rhythm last week. The third part of his Variety Of series, it follows 2012‘s Variety of Loud and 2015‘s Variety of Live. An adventurous and astounding 44-minute suite built around three movements, its pieces incorporate and journey through a broad spectrum of sound, both composed and improvised. Variety of Rhythm was recorded in Tokyo, Halmstad, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, New York, Paris and Malmö, between March 2015 and last January, and it features stellar collaborators aplenty, including guitarist David Torn, sax player Paulo Chagas, bass guitarist player Dick Lövgren (Meshuggah) and drummer Yasuhiro Yoshigaki, amongst others. Variety of Rhythm is an absolute musical treasure that everyone should hear. To get you enticed, listen to two sublime pieces below, ‘Adagio Double’ and ‘Tete-a-Tete/ Blivet’. And visit VarietyOf.com for the full album and Hällkvist’s terrific insight into the technicalities of the record.