Reviewed: April, 2022
Released: 2022, Gaphals
Reviewer: Simon Wiedeman
Henning is a musical artist who will be releasing his fourth studio album ‘Skymningsmusik för Dagdrömmare’ on 8th April, 2022. He is known in his country for his Dire Straits inspired pop rock sound, mixed with Swedish lyrics, but this time around, his style is quite different than what he’s produced before. The release is an 11 track instrumental album that is atmospheric, cinematic and folk-inspired, and it features saxophones, mandolins, pianos and organs, along with the typical guitars and drums. In many ways, the album could be perceived as one epic song, rather than a collection of cuts.
Wow, this album sure is mellow right from the start; ‘Intro’ has a bit of a Pink Floyd mood, but without the proggish developments and odd time signatures. Does mellow mean it’s boring? Dear God, no. The wide range of instruments used in the LP keeps things interesting, without making the sound over-the-top or strange. Very difficult things to balance, and Henning does it perfectly. The harmonies are consistently light and colourful, the melodies are beautiful, and the orchestrations are rich. As hinted at earlier, all tracks follow each other wonderfully, and it’s like listening to 35 minutes of pure contentment. Track ‘Teleskopet’ stands out a little, in that is has a bit of a light-rocking, more upbeat Shadows vibe. Maybe it would have been better if such sounds were built up more gradually in the immediately previous track ‘Kompassen’, as for me, Tel disrupted the relaxed moods, just a tad. However, the song is a perfectly fine piece of music otherwise. That really is a nitpick, as earlier track ‘Bildhuggaren’ does have similarities to the tune I ‘criticised’. You could argue I’m just trying hard to generate material. Fair enough.
‘Outro’ is very much in the same style of the intro creating an even stronger sense of story. It has a bit of a darker tone than some of the other tracks, but not in a sinister way, more of a literal way. I’m reminded of starry skies and the sipping of wine. The mood soon picks up though, and turns into one of the most positive moments on the release. For me, the sound is a bit too sweet at times, but for the final time, no one can deny the expertise in the way all instruments combine with each other. However, if you’re one of those people who like to feel a certain amount of sadness just for the sake of it, you will likely feel such sombre moods when the album ends. If you’re like me, you’ll want more tracks to enjoy.
In conclusion, I can’t think of much popular music that is better for chilling out to. What’s really impressive is that not only is it great backing music, it’s also great for focusing hard on. There are so many subtle details that you can chose to remember or ignore, and either listening method has its own pros and cons. Consequently, the album will have a very long lifespan before it starts to get dull. I wouldn’t really say the music was particularly catchy, but if you can write complex yet simple chillout music that truly gets stuck in your head, you have to be one one of the world’s greatest ever geniuses, surely. Ok, ‘Gymnopedie’ is catchy, but that’s very well known. Furthermore, it has nothing to do with Henning. Instrumental solos have moments of flashiness, but they are far from ostentatious or ill-fitting. Just another reason to check this guy out. Strongly recommended if you’re feeling stressed, or alternatively not stressed, you just want to prolong your feelings of happiness. Occasional light touches of Frank Zappa’s experimentation and early Allan Holdsworth’s dreamy guitar chords make the sound slightly daring, too.