Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Sebastian Mullaert & Henrik Frendin (Sweden) – Hind (title track from album)

Came across this one (for which unfortunately we only have time for the title track tonight) while researching another artist on the Swedish Lamour label and coming across what seemed to amount to a plea (in reality not quite so dramatic) to check this album out.

The label owner’s Facebook page refers to the album ‘Hind’, from the “electronica guru” Sebastian Mullaert and “Sweden’s only viola professor”, Henrik Frendin, as one of his most high profile releases to date, one that tries to “mix modern electronic and art music” and one that arose out of a two-year collaboration between the two.

‘Hind’ is described by its writers as “an exploration in improvisation, of letting electronic and electrified acoustic sounds dance together; it’s a celebration of nature and life.”

Reading Sebastian’s biography I learn that he has a “distinct approach to life, as well as music, which is centred on tranquillity, stillness and the convergence of Zen meditation, nature and creativity.”

So we’re all set for something relaxing yet at the same time celebratory. Something you could settle in an armchair to, with a glass of wine. Or hit the dance floor. Does ‘Hind’ – the track at least – measure up?

I note that Sebastian takes a particular interest in the nature of the forest and indeed there is one close by his home and right from the start there is a juxtaposition between rapid and fleeting electronically produced notes and the dulcet tones of the string component, which I’m guessing is a viola; it sounds like one even to my untrained ear.

It would be pointless to become a professor of the thing and not play it.

The contrast could be between rhythmically fluttering autumnal leaves and what is going on within and beneath the carpet they form at the base if the tree.

Alternatively you might put a maritime interpretation on it; the repetitive crashing of waves contrasted with the swarms of fish out of sight beneath them.

After a brief sortie through what is almost a regular rock/pop beat the track then emerges into something more akin to a cosmic experience then into a restrained plucked string side trip before the original complex melody line returns like some sort of abstract rondo and the piece ultimately exits gently and peacefully as if you’re on the psychoanalyst’s couch.

I kept getting an image in my mind of the film 2001 – A Space Odyssey, the early part of the movie in which Dr Floyd is flying to the Moon to the site where they’ve found the monolith that the aliens left behind aeons ago to see if and when we’d discover it, and who finds it difficult moving around weightless in the cabin.

I thought it might fit that scenario quite well, but then I’m not a composer.

You certainly get your money’s worth with these two guys. I didn’t fall into a rapturous state listening to it, or get the urge to bang my head against the speakers but can see why some people might do either of those things.

The album is available to listen to on all digital platforms. It can also be ordered as a gatefold double vinyl with artwork made by Swedish visual artist Gus Gustavsson.

Find them on:

(Sebastian Mullaert)





(Henrik Frendin)




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