Just a shorter review today of an album that feels perfect for these lovely long Spring evenings, and as we get some much needed warm weather. Markus Sundquist is from Piteå, Sweden, and he's just released a debut album entitled 'Hamtrå', which he describes as influenced by classical, folk, cinematic and even video game music - he just needs a few football chants in there, and I‘ll have found my perfect genre mix.
Anyway I get the point that he's making, because 'Hamtrå' is a whimsical release which is really easy on the ear, rotating between light folk tunes and more developed romantic piano themes, all of which somehow fit together quite naturally. 'Nystart' the opener is a really good indicator of what's to come, launching straight into a quirky, jaunty melody, that evolves slowly as instruments are added, albeit with a fair amount of repetition that will leave those tunes instantly lodged into your mind.
Somehow the transition into 'Försommarvals' feels perfectly natural, a solo piano piece which is more optimistic than sad, again those folk tune influences at the heart of the track, but enhanced by late romantic musical phrasing. And that's pretty much the style of the album, I get where the Video Game comparison comes in, it's more Atari than Xbox for sure, and actually some tracks could even be slotted in as TV theme tunes too.
Other highlights include title track 'Hamtrå', the dreamy piano piece 'Polarnatt' is a lovely listen, whilst 'Slåttermyren' returns to the fairground waltz / folk instrumental style. The latter piano tracks such as 'Flisterno' and 'Litet' are probably the most refined of that style of compositions on the album.
Of course, this certainly isn't heavy hitting weighty music (the classical influences are more Ravel and Satie rather than Mahler and Bruckner), but Markus Sundqvist compositions have an elegance and a carefree spirit which makes them endearing and instantly likeable. I have inflicted a sizeable share of melancholy and quite frankly miserable music on you all over the last 8 years, but 'Hamtrå' is just a hugely enjoyable and fun listen.
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