After his last time touring the United States in support of 2009's Dear John, Emil Svanängen returned home to Sweden and began to play shows with chamber orchestras throughout the country.
To successfully accomplish this feat, he was forced to revisit his earlier material -- re-writing and re-arranging these older songs for performance on a grander scale.
This experience had an indelible influence on the writing and recording of the appropriately titled Hall Music, an expansive record that finds Svanängen closer to creating the type of orchestral music he has always sought to bring to life on stage (whether he's actually playing with an orchestra or not).
Above all, Hall Music is a study in merging contrasts, an album of impossible pairings. The pacing is simultaneously fast and slow, with gently weaving harmonic structures propelled forward by quickly moving notes. The instrumentation is orchestral and synthesized; organic and invented. A church bell paired effortlessly with horns and an analog keyboard.
Though at first listen it occupies your ears for just over a half-hour, it is an all-consuming sonic affair. It is intimate music that effortlessly fills vast, empty spaces -- in your head, in your room, in your life -- with a grip so delicate yet unyielding that you can't (and don't want to) escape it.
Drawing from both of the emotional states it joins together -- joy and darkness, Hall Music creates its own unique expanse -- one you'll surely want to re-visit again and again.
Hall Music may be Loney Dear's most sumptuous-sounding record to date; its tender, plainspoken songs are just as humble and heartfelt as anything Svanängen's done.
Loney Dear has only widened his eyes: Everything is in place, but the music seems fuller and rings in your ears longer, each song striking a balance between light and dark.
Under The Radar
Svanangen seems to be getting better with each successive album, and it's a joy to hear.
layer upon layer of harmonious sounds….atmospheric ...frankly magnificent
Hall Music is yet more proof that the melancholic Swede deserves to be heard
there's a fireworking climax round every...corner, chasing the shadows, catching the sun
charming.. uplifting... impossibly soothing.
deeply textured... sweet melancholy