Label: Home Normal
Evolutions is the third album from Swedish producer/multi-instrumentalist Tobias Hellkvist, a new artist on the increasingly impressive Home Normal roster. Apparently prior works from Hellkvist were based upon acoustic guitar elements, but here he exhibits a deft command of highly textured, composerly soundscapes. 'Fresh Start' introduces the album with a flutter of dulcimer-like tones and a growing cloud of ambience fashioned from various instrumental timbres and some discreet electronic processing. Like a kind of stealthy fanfare this densely constructed piece serves as a great introduction to the sort of delicate, finely poised flow of sonorities that's to come. Soon, 'Patience' arrives with its bitcrushed tones and steel-strung acoustic meanderings, before the altogether less pastoral 'Scars And Stripes' billows into earshot. For this track Hellkvist treats sustained piano keyings in a juddering, Tim Hecker-like fashion while ear-caressing glitchy noises bubble away in the corners of the mix. After the washed-out, wintry splendour of 'White Hole', 'Arms' proves to be rather special, sounding like an eroded tape recording of old clock chimes resonating together - the whole quivering sound mass gradually ascending into a plume of pealing bell clamour. The label's curator, Ian Hawgood clearly thinks very highly of this record, citing it as "the archetypal Home Normal release in many ways", and undoubtedly Evolutions is worthy of that praise.