Tobias Hellkvist – Vesterhavet

“The sea was as dark as dreams and as deep as sleep” – Orhan Pamuk

Vesterhavet means “North Sea” in Danish, an apt title for the new full length album by Swedish composer and sound designer Tobias Hellkvist, a drone ambient excursion as vast and deep as its namesake.  According to Hellkvist making this album helped toward a sense of closure with his past work while opening up some new creative pathways at the same time.

“Actually, I think I’ve been more inspired musically during the last few years than I’ve ever been, and have had several album projects going on simultaneously. But it was harder and harder for me to get a good overview of what I was doing, and realized that I needed to start finishing things rather than adding to the pile, in order to achieve a more relaxed, focused and structured working environment…I started working on this album directly after ‘Everything Is Connected’ was finished, so it kind of makes sense if this feels like a continuation of that sound. However, I’ve definitely explored some new ways of working on this album, both technically and musically” – Tobias Hellkvist

There is a certain purity in Hellkvist’s patiently constructed drones. They are densely layered, but stretched out and fluid with ponderous movement under the opaque surface making them perfectly suited to evoke the boundless immensity and mystery of the sea.  As the first movement begins, land shrinks out of view as the listener is cast adrift on a vast blue field of sound. By the third movement, there is an ominous gathering of intensity and distortion that threatens to unleash fearsome, latent power before receding and ultimately ebbing away into the penultimate fourth movement and melting into the leeward horizon in the final coda.

Listen: “Vesterhavet 3”

Vesterhavet is an impressive work that, like the sea itself, can simply be soaked in or can accept whatever dreams or internal narratives the listener might bring to it. A must-listen for lovers of pure drone ambient. The album is currently available as a digital only release directly from the artist (link below).


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