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Vinyl Corner : Henrik Lindstrand ‘Nordhem’

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. We’re slowing things down for the latest in the series and opening our ears and minds to the patient, self-contained world offered by modernist composer Henrik Lindstrand.

The Music:

Regular readers may well recall that Henrik Lindstrand’s name is not a new one here on Vinyl Corner; we reviewed his last album – 2019’s ‘Nattresan’ – back upon its original release, praising the singular ambience of its pretty, patient piano reveries as a welcome rejoinder to modern life’s hectic and often overwhelming pace. Much as global lockdown might have forced many of us to re-evaluate the breakneck tempo of our day-to-day lives, the innate value of music which is as relaxed in its preoccupations as Lindstand’s remains as inarguable now as it was a year ago. ‘Nordhem’ is the composer’s swiftly-delivered follow-up, a record which essentially offers more of the same in comparison to its predecessor. Whilst it may not deliver any great surprises across the course of its runtime, it serves to further cements Lindstand’s position as one of the most melodically lilting composers of his movement. Those who found refuge in the swirling ambience and ponderous reverberances of ‘Nattresan’ will doubtless find ‘Nordhem’ just as edifying.

The Pressing:

Released by the highly capable One Little Independent Records, ‘Nordhem’ is a rock-solid release in every respect. Pressed by Germany’s enormously popular Optimal Media GmbH, this heavyweight slab of black wax boasts a degree of firm quality control which cannot always be relied upon from this pressing plant, even if the bulk of their output does tend to play well. Indeed, this is as commendable a pressing as any we’ve reviewed here on Vinyl Corner in quite some time; its noise floor is whisper-quiet, which is a blessing considering how easily surface noise would interrupt the singular atmosphere Lindstrand cooks up. We also heard no obvious surface noise anywhere across either side of our copy, allowing the subtle atmospherics of the music to shine through our speakers uninterrupted. Our example also sat flat upon the platter during playback, which is a less common occurrence than it really should be.

The Packaging:

Packaged in a sturdy, attractive gatefold sleeve, One Little Independent’s release of ‘Nordhem’ is as thoroughly competent in its presentation as it is in the quality of its audio. The cardstock from which the cover has been manufactured is a sturdy one and the subtle texturing with which it has been finished lends the release a pleasingly physical element in addition to its clean, attractive aesthetics. A small barcode has been printed directly onto the back cover and, as per usual in such cases, would have preferable as a sticker attached to the shrinkwrap yet, even so, it’s a minor issue at most. Other than that, this is an attractively presented release replete with labels which give full information on tracklisting, which is frustratingly all-too-rare in the case of many modern releases.

Final Thoughts:

‘Nordhem’ is another emotive, evocative release from one of modern composition’s most articulate pianists and in One Little Independent’s vinyl release, a thoroughly enjoyable way to experience it is offered.

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 martin.leitch@gigsoupmusic.com – it would be great to hear from you!

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