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coverpic flag Sweden - Full Moon 236 - 11/25/15

Erik Nilsson
Hearing Things
Hidden Shoal Recordings

Swedish composer/musician Erik Nilsson draws on 'folk, classical and electronica' and he blends 'acoustic instruments with field recordings and computer-generated sounds', according to his site. When Hidden Shoal are up to compare Nilsson's music to other acts, they put up (early) Four Tet, Tortoise (at their most minimal), and the Finnish soundscapers The Gentleman Losers. Sounds like something cool and chilling.

Nilsson's music is slowly building and evolving, and his songs find their place and grows little by little, as they sneak out of their maker's hands. These are the songs of the land of minimal music as in small and gentle, yes even fragile, but the outcome has some maximal effect. At least on me. Not that these tracks are loud and noisy. Not at all. On the contrary, this is all about calm, quiet and tranquillity. The slow hush of Nilsson's second album Hearing Things starts with the gentle waves and the serenity of the guitar within "Ex Nihilo". "Altitude" lifts off further in a most peaceful, psalm-like way, before its instrumental acrobatics starts building before ebbing and fading into thin air. Then comes the somewhat epic and totally marvellous "On and Onward", blending both monotony and repetition as well as melodic harmony and harmonic rhythms. Neat. It makes me think of my fascination for Vangelis... back when I was a young boy, listening to Albedo 0.39.

The magical tale of the hypnotising Hearing Things continues with the bubbly travel of "Moshka Can't Wait" and the more quiet and moody "Mood Swings", before another beauty appears: The track "Distance, Wind, and Heat" stands out as one of the best, maybe the best track of the album. It starts out with a hushed piano. Then a guitar comes in, and over the minutes the song builds up a force of intensity and stamina. Before it is fading and hiding in its room of silence again. It is a totally marvellous and stunning piece of music.

Hearing Things ends with the more rhythmic drive of "In One-Fifth of a Second", which rise almost to something noisy, before the gentle touch of "Drawing Dreaming" closes the album in a most atmospheric way. Excellence fulfilled. Listening to Hearing Things for sure eases one's mind. It is almost as if this album can ease and end all pain. Period. Well, if it was so, we would have had world peace by now. Hmm, this means a lot more people need to listen to Hearing Things.

Hearing Things was released some months ago (sorry for this late review), following Nilsson's 2011 acclaimed debut Recollage (on Luxus-Artica Records). Erik Nilsson co-composed the soundtrack to the Norwegian documentary film Ahmed - snart 13 (Ahmed - Almost 13) (2011). He is also the singer and guitarist of Swedish folk-rock trio Otinget - who are recording 'as we speak'. You'd better watch out. In the meantime, you'd better start Hearing Things. It's for your own good.

Copyright © 2015 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Erik Nilsson articles/reviews: Recollage, Tail Lights.

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