Johan Hedin - Innersta Polskan
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Johan Hedin
Innersta Polskan
Drone Music (

cd cover Who knew that an album of nothing but nyckelharpa and a little percussion could be so multi-faceted and captivating? Hedin, a member of Bazar Blå, brings the instrument to the forefront in this introspective work. "This music is intended for an inner dance, for journeys of the mind where the suite form enables one to travel further, uninterrupted," he writes by way of explaining the album's title. Using four different sizes of nyckelharpa, Hedin develops short melodic ideas into rhapsodies of string sound. The drone and harmonic capabilities of the instrument allow for a string quartet-like richness from just one player. Hedin's tone is pure and warm and his phrasing has an expressive elasticity.

There are only seven tracks on the CD, but each (except the last short piece) has the multipartite ebb and flow of a suite. He gets subtle, tasteful assistance by Fredrik Gille on riq, djembe, and other percussion. Gille manages to keep up with Hedin's loopy, swooping dance rhythm on "Springaren." The audible clicking of the nyckelharpa's keys provides its own percussion on several tracks. "Vägfararen" is often reminiscent of the music of Phillip Glass with its rolling, repetitive passages. Another section of the same suite has the stateliness of a Renaissance basse danse. The tour de force of the release, however, is the fourteen-minute "Akerösviten," with its dramatic frame drum accompaniment and sinuous mix of eastern and western influences. The short "Postludium" that ends the disc is a pensive, Renaissance-inspired air. It's a quiet moment of reflection at the end of a prismatic set of music. - Peggy Latkovich

From cdRoots

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