There before you – a stand of pines, vast and deep, and you continue along the road that takes you in. Because the road is the only way, and though the pines create a whole, a wide expanse of untouched land, you begin to see, rather feel, the patterns around you. You count three, a sacred number for the tribes that inhabit these parts, but nature is self-dividing, self-replicating, and before this trip is over, you will know, if not fully understand, the math of a particular creator.
Epik. Didaktik. Pastoral.
Epik – its vastness.
Didaktik – you can learn, you must learn from it.
Pastoral – is it country, or a country? Yes. Yes, it is.
Look up, the branches intertwining, creating an infinite network, a polyrhythmic configuration nearly impossible yet entirely real. Count the branches. You can’t because it’s beyond your will. You just have to feel it. The creatures scurrying about you, they feel it. They move in time with it all, and yet they scurry and gather and mate without will.
Keep moving through the pines and notice you behave a certain way, in keeping with the laws of the woods. Taking heavy heavy steps, you are at once intruder and inhabitant, at once destroyer and giver of life. You behave as you must according to the will of the wood.
There in the clearing, a tribe steals your view from the piney branches and chattering critters with their thunder. Try to move to it, limbs akimbo, a dance of structured chaos. Mind the snaps and booms and clangs of the tribe – the tribe that clear cut this site and made it their own. They slashed the pines, they knocked down the brush, they inflicted their will on nature here. But they are victims, too. For nature always reclaims itself.
Flowers flourish here, commanding your attention. They spread like lavender explosions all around you, and you forget for a moment the tribe now out of sight. You keep moving, not touching but simply being touched by the petals, which seem to flood your senses. There are patterns here, too. The thrum of the natives still in your ears, the pounding of their drums forcing the flowers to sway.
You must follow — in accordance with the rules of the wood, as nature dictates these very patterns. It’s as plain as the blue sky above, all messy chaos and crisp rigidity.
You must once again establish your will, restart, as it were. Find your footing, stand erect and self-assured. And there you are, anything but yourself, at the edge of the forest, gazing over a stretch of flat, brown, arid earth. Chopped and singed to the sooty sand beneath your feet. You feel the earth’s pulse there, and it’s still beating. It’s a sight you cannot bear, and yet are you’re somehow content, because you know …
in time …
nature will again reclaim itself.
In its own …
odd …

Samuel Hällkvist, guitars, MIDI programming
Knut Finsrud, drums
Dick Lövgren, bass (1,3,5,6,7,8,10)
Katrine Amsler, sound design, programming (1,7,8,10)
Anne Marte Eggen, bass (2,4,9)
Yazz Ahmed, trumpet (1,3)
Luca Calabrese, trumpet (2,6)
Noel Langley, additional trumpet (1,3)

All music by Samuel Hällkvist

Recorded in Halmstad, Copenhagen, Sundon, Milan, Malmö 2019
Mixed by August Wanngren
Mastered by Morten Bue
Liner notes by John E. Citrone
Cover art by Sophie Bass – layout by Mai-Britt Amsler

thank you: everyone involved, Mats Johansson, Johannes Burström, Eventide audio, Pigtronix, KTW, Tim Bowness, Aa Zon basses, DR strings, Steve Hubback, Eclipse Trumpets

Released August 20, 2020
C'est BPCD031