Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound, how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving a brief overview of the music itself. This time we’re mellowing out to the uber-placid sounds of Henrik Lindstrand.
Those familiar with their Scandinavian rock music might raise an eyebrow at the idea of Henrik Lindstrand’s music being labelled “uber-placid”. For the last eighteen years he’s been a member of Kashmir – a Danish rock super power and a group more interested in riff-based stadium rock than quiet meditations (as their Led Zeppelin-inspired name suggests). On ‘Nattresan’ – Lindstrand’s second solo outing since 2017 – he takes the pressure down a notch or five and changes out the hard rock influences for a palette of clean, minimalistic solo-piano compositions. The influences here are much the same as on any of the albums released in the style over the last few years. Eric Satie’s presence is, of course, palpable throughout but so is that of Richard D. James – at least in his quietest, most peaceful moments (think ‘Avril 14th’). There’re also points of reference to be found in the building repetition of Philip Glass and Steve Reich, as well as the work of contemporaries such as Poppy Akroyd, Sebastian Plano and Luke Howard. Fans of the aforementioned will find much to appreciate here, as Lindstrand confidently melds the natural ambience of his chosen instrument with a series of pretty, understated compositions.
You can often make an educated guess as to the quality of an album’s playback just by a quick glance at its surfaces. Removing ‘Nattresan’ from its sleeve and looking it over, signs are immediately positive. It’s a heavyweight slab of black wax, flat as a pancake and free of surface marks or signs of handling from the factory. True to these positive first impressions, playback reveals a tidy pressing with a low noise floor and clean surfaces free of pops, clicks, ticks or any other unwelcome nasties. We did pick up on a few errant crackles here and there but these were both infrequent and minimal. Considering how very quiet ‘Nattresan’ is, such minor imperfections are more or less inevitable and there’s nothing here that we would consider detrimental to the album’s enjoyment. Fidelity is largely faultless throughout the album, however we did notice a slight accent of inner groove distortion on the last song of side B.
This is a really nicely presented release, boasting the kind of discreet and robust presentation that befits an album of such classily-understated composition. The cover is a well-made gatefold design hewn from a lovely rough cardstock that adds a pleasingly tactile dimension to the presentation. The art direction is imbued with a dignity befitting the style of music it represents and print quality is very nice here, with plenty of definition and clarity. The spine is wide enough to stand out clearly on a busy shelf, ensuring that the album will never be too difficult to find. The label design is efficient and simple but it offers all the information you’d need, so it serves its purpose well. A small niggle comes in the form of the barcode, which is printed directly onto the back cover. In fairness, it is as discreet as a UPC ever can be but it still would have been preferable for it to have been attached to the shrinkwrap as a sticker. The inner sleeve is a very high quality black polylined affair, which earns major bonus points with us as it ensures the continued good health of the record inside.
Henrik Lindstrand’s ‘Nattresan’ is a recommended listen for fans of piano-based minimal composition. The vinyl edition is a well-pressed, classily-presented version that offers the album in ideal form.
Enjoyed this feature? We’re always looking for further albums to highlight on Vinyl Corner – and if you have a vinyl release that you’d love to see written about here, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – it would be great to hear from you!