Album Review: Jonathan Hultén — “Chants From Another Place”

Illuminated only by the stars in the night sky, a spirit dances out of a forest to guide you on a mystical journey through barren valleys, sparkling waters, and quiet mountain tops.  Jonathan Hultén‘s latest work of art and debut solo studio album, Chants From Another Place, brings listeners to magical places on an adventure filled with darkness, hopes, dreams, life, death, and rebirth.  The album is full of emotion and rises and falls in gentle cascading currents.

Perhaps more popularly known as the guitarist from Swedish metal band, Tribulation, Hultén’s creativity and musical talent knows no bounds.  Drawing inspiration from across multiple genres, the aptly named album heavily features Hultén’s chants and ethereal vocal harmonies.  Chants From Another Place opens with steady acoustic guitar strumming welcoming Hultén’s pure vocals and dreamy lyrics, and eventually opens to subtle percussion and vocal harmonies.  The instrumentation is fairly unvaried throughout the album, yet it is effective and beautifully done so that the vocals shine, and the themes of the album are not clouded.  “Ostbjorka Brudlat,” an acapella arrangement that showcases Hultén’s enchanting voice and range, is one of my favorite tracks. 

Jonathan Hulten
Jonathan Hultén, photo courtesy of Soile Siirtola

Two single releases, “The Mountain” and “Wasteland,” from Chants From Another Place debuted in January and February accompanied by animated music videos created by Hultén who is a skilled illustrator and animator.  It is easy to lose yourself in these videos, consumed by the haunting melodies and captivating visuals that pair perfectly with the story-painting lyrics.

The cover art, a penned portrait, was also created by Hultén himself.  Hultén has created many album covers including all four studio albums for Tribulation.  He has also designed beer bottle labels in collaboration with Macken Brewery and works on personal portraiture projects.  Hultén’s gallery is available to view on his website.

Truly a passion project, Chants from Another Place was recorded exclusively by Hultén in his studio in Stockholm, Sweden with only one guest artist (percussionist Nacho Montero) on track “Outskirts.”  The tracks were later mixed by Ola Ersfjord from Cuervo Recording Service in Madrid, Spain.  From the compositions, to the lyrics, to the instrumentation and even the cover art and music videos, Hultén clearly poured his heart and ghastly soul into this endeavor and the result is a stunning masterpiece that inspires awe.

-Angela


Chants From Another Place is available March 13 on Kscope.  For more information on Jonathan Hultén visit his official website.

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