1. Fresh Start
3. Scars and Stripes
4. White Hole
6. The Ladder
Composed, performed and produced by Tobias Hellkvist
Artwork by Anna Johansson
Tobias Hellkvist is a multi-instrumentalist from Sweden. To date he has released two full-length albums, Evolutions being his third.
Whilst much of Tobias work has previously revolved around acoustic guitar elements, Evolutions takes us into denser minimalist textures. That isn't to say the acoustic elements are absent from Tobias's latest work, as the subtle use of guitar, zither, accordian and glockenspiel processing throughout the whole album shows. It's simply that the acoustic elements in Evolutions are more subtly woven into the fabric of the beautiful dirge-like textures.
The Silent Ballet called Tobias 'one of Sweden's best kept secrets'. With two limited self-releases to his name, it's not hard to see why. Tobias's music is incredibly mature, deep and yet seems to carry an innocent soul with it at the same time. I think it's probably this that caught me the most when I first heard Evolutions. It's also very rare to hear such a talented musician, with a keen ear for dense drone structures, to lay open the acoustic elements, never processing them too much, if at all.
So how do I sum up such an album? Is it ambient? Is it drone? Is it folk? Well, truth be told its all of these and so much more. It's a work of great patience, beauty and gentleness, the archetypal Home Normal release in many ways. With amazing artwork from the highly talented Anna Johansson, it's an incredible work and a real honour for Home Normal to put out the first widely distributed album by such a talented artist. Let's just hope he isn't just one of Sweden's 'best kept secrets' for too much longer.
- Ian Hawgood
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