The mountain of releases keeps getting higher, and we have some really interesting albums to cover including Code Elektro, Major Parkinson and many more. But we do like to cover offbeat original releases from independent songwriters, so we're delighted to cover Gus Ring, a Swedish musician who describes his music as 'acoustic dreampop', but actually his music is more diverse than that, and it is all written in a personal intimate style which makes it rewarding for the listener.
Although now a prolific tourer around Europe, 'Gus Ring' started off playing in hardcore metal bands, but his love for more fragile music developed quickly, and he released a self produced album entitled 'Boredomtapes' in 2014. Earlier this year he released 'Hypnoseas', and whilst originally it was his track 'Du Drunknande I Dina Tankar' ( You Drowned In Your Thoughts) which captured my attention, after some listens I've grown to like the whole album.
Hypnoseas' feels like a really personal album, both musically and lyrically, predominantly based around guitar and vocals, and the additional instrumentation is always used sparingly - and always to make a point, as with the glockenspiel in opening track 'Swim'. Title track 'Hypnoseas' switches between fragments of melody and spoken word, adding emphasis to the lyrics, but it also neatly builds with subtle crescendos, and those little melodies become little rays of sunlight amongst the greyness. I like the subtlety of the guitar at the opening of 'Chameleon' in particular, whilst 'Youniverse' has the feel of a more classic singer songwriter track, and i like the lyrics. But my favourite tracks are still to come, i think the melancholy piano which carries 'Introvertigo' works well, 'The Greatest Man on Earth' manages to create a real intensity to it and 'Armor' is a really lovely track, melancholy at first but then opening up with a lovely melody when the female vocals are added. And the album concludes with 'Du Drunknande I Dina Tankar', an instrumental piece that was composed for a childhood friend who died young, it is simple but beautifully written.
'Hypnoseas' is an interesting and thoughtfully written album. Undoubtedly the strength comes from the fact than the album in its entirety has more to offer than any individual track. Gus Ring is not afraid to use different and sometimes harsher musical textures in his songwriting, and it is not always 'easy' to listen to. But I admire songwriters who don't always take the simpler options (not that any songwriting is...), and this is an album which has far more depth than will probably be apparent on first listen. I really hope you will give it a try.