As regular readers may know, one of my imaginary happy places is to be in a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere and simply just be. This was the sort of existence that was evoked when I first started listening to this beautiful album by Kosmogon, a Swedish duo featuring classically trained pianist Sophie Linder and musical collaborator Nicklas Barker, best known as composer, guitarist, Mellotronist, and singer in Swedish progressive rock band Anekdoten.
It came as little surprise, therefore, to find out that the album was recorded in their cottage in the forest as a pair of improvisational works that I have already played in my imaginary cabin on a number of occasions. And it easy to see why this might be the case as the first of the two LP-length tracks, ‘Mässan’ gets underway with what I assume is field recordings of the birds and other wildlife that they experienced in their surroundings. You are immediately transported there… or your own version of there; and as the wonderful organ sound kicks in you get over come with a feeling of peace and tranquility. As the artists themselves write:
Mässan was recorded in the autumn of 2020 in their cottage in the Swedish countryside. It’s an homage to Sweden’s breathtaking nature in six parts, symbolizing different phases of evening, night, and early morning in the forest.https://kosmogon.bandcamp.com/album/m-ssan
As the music progresses you find yourself being increasingly drawn into this world… the sounds, with birdsong still perceptively in the mix, augmenting your own experience of stillness and calm… I imagine sitting in the chill but fresh air letting it all wash through me… a sort of cleansing as the sonic experience becomes at the same time more intense and yet less intrusive…
…and as whispers begin to emerge from the speakers there is a real feeling of reaching some sort of forest clearing where things become more clear and, as the music moves into a more upbeat mode, I get a sudden desire to look up into the stars as the mixture of the beats and drones become almost cosmic in their intent… again the organ comes in… it is beautiful and it is perfect as the voices and the sound of shooting stars beyond reach a sort of understated crescendo… now the music seems to be burrowing into my very soul… a comfort to whatever ails me… a provider of solace and transporter from the mundane everyday…. I am now well and truly in my own imaginary world and, frankly, I’d be happy to stay there.
It feels like ’Mässan’ is reaching some sort of peak… and with that begins to come in a sort of escalator of sounds as you are gently brought back into the place where it found you…. but actually it is not the exact same place as the experience has left its mark and the world is somehow more manageable and I feel ready to address it anew… what an incredible track it is… and as you are left with the birdsong once more you are reminded of where you want to be… twenty five minutes of pure bliss!
After a few minutes to just process that (it would be great to have the vinyl to naturally do this, but it seems to have been long sold out) I feel ready to do it all over again with ’Somnus’… beginning now, not with birdsong, but soothing drones which ebb and flow… once again drawing you into a place which feels cushioned and comfortable. This, for me, is not challenging music… but neither is it bland… maybe it’s different for everybody… but this psychologically goes with the grain… it walks beside me… it leads me to good places… this is music for a peaceful inner quest…. music that has resonance… music that you are only too happy to follow…. it is a siren call, but one that pulls you into the shore rather than enticing you onto the rocks… it is not the lighthouse warning you from danger, but a gentle current that deposits you gently of a soft sandy shore… the waves mildly and soothingly lapping against you…
…it is a track in which nothing seems to happen in a hurry… and yet as you get to the end of it you feel that you have definitely been through an experience which you will not forget in a hurry. This is, in short, stunning music which I cannot begin to deconstruct in terms of how it was made, recorded and mixed…. but with an outcome that has something ineffable within it that you really have to listen to to believe…
I have listened to this fifty-odd minute album many times now in the last month or so and, like the Buddha’s stream, it is something that feels different every time… yes the sounds are the same, but the way I interact with it is different… in one sense that makes it ambient… but like all great ambient music it is facilitative… it is not there to be played in the background as you travel in a lift… but rather be a companion for you as you travel through life… at the end the silence is just incredible!
Thanks very much for reading my blog, I really appreciate this. I write it as a labour of love to help me enjoy music, and to give something back to the many talented people who put out these incredible sounds.
To make it as enjoyable as possible for others I do pay extra so there are, for instance, no ads on these pages; but it would be great if the blog could pay for itself.
So, if you’ve really enjoyed your visit here and have found some music that you think is amazing, why not buy me a coffee (I write in independent cafés a lot) by clicking either below, or the “make a donation” button on the sidebar or footer depending on your device.