Samuel Hällkvist – Variety Of Live (2015)

SamuelHallkvist_Variety3 out of 5 Stars!

This is the only album I own thus far from this (mostly) instrumental band (or solo artist project with numerous musicians included). Here, a mixture of styles can be found, but mainly (in my opinion) are “Canterbury Scene Prog-Rock” influences such as Caravan, Gong, Hatfield And The North, National Health, but all wrapped up in a majestic, dreamy and hypnotic Ozric Tentacles-like atmospheric/jazzy blanket.

A perfect example of this merging of styles and influences can be located on the track “Chord, Horror Cacui.” The track begins with a slow and swirling trip down the Canterbury road, building up to a wailing and spacey jazz-rock frenzy. “Kiopotec” is another adventurous trek into jazz-land where the ultra-punchy rhythm section slams its way into almost otherworldly territory.

“Heru Ra-Ha Road” delivers even more instrumental strangeness, while a female singer adds her vocal gymnastics over various parts of the track, which immediately brings to mind some of the spaciest albums I own from acts such as Gong, Steve Hillage, or Khan. And when, during the track “Music For The Maraca Triplet,” vibes and light trumpet appear during the intro, along with more unusual percussion instruments, I get the sense of venturing into the realm of Avant-Prog.

Although many of the tracks are rather interesting and engaging, they are, unfortunately, hardly memorable. There are no “hooks,” per se, no catchy melody lines even when it comes to the sparse vocal bits, just a lot of free-form music to create specific moods. This is why I rated this collection with only an “average/pleasant” 3 Stars overall.

I’m not familiar with the band’s previous three releases, so I can’t declare whether they offer the same sort of adventurous material, but this latest one is definitely that. So for those fans of the “Canterbury Scene,” or perhaps the spacier Prog-Rock scene who like a ton of jazz tossed into their instrumental music, this might be a band/artist you’ll want to investigate to see if it’s to your liking.

Get The Album Now!

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