Title: A Great Circle Rout
Format: 12″ 180g vinyl
Label: Hare Tracks
Cat nr: HT10
Genre: Modern classical/Jazz
1. Open Sea, Steady Breeze 03:21
2. They Were Already Here 02:53
3. A Great Circle Route (Variation for Saxophone Quartet) 08:21
4. Imagine Rustling Pebbles 02:50
5. Our Tender Bodies 02:12
6. A Scene Under Water 05:26
7. A Great Circle Route (Guitar version) 04:50
8. Cyclic Memories 05:24
A great circle route is the shortest course between two points on the surface of a sphere. Such routes are used for navigating large ships and aircrafts at long distances. The circular and cyclical, the open horizons and depths of the sea and the myriad of life that is contained within it, set a loose framework for this album, which is the fifth from multi-instrumentalist and composer Henrik Öhberg.
This time he delve deeper into the melodic minimalism that’s always been at the core of his musical universe. His sonic palette shifts and expands through new pieces for saxophone quartet, modular electronics and electric guitar, which are accompanied by familiar colors from accordion, analog synthesizers and felt-damped piano.
The album is centered around three pieces for saxophone quartet, “Open Sea, Steady Breeze”, “A Great Circle Route” and “Our Tender Bodies”, performed by Pelle Westlin (soprano), Gustav Rådström (alto), Johannes Gammelgaard Lauritsen (tenor) and Olle Vikström (baryton). With nods to Steve Reich’s American minimalism and the street compositions of Moondog, paired with Henrik’s own brand of soft, vaguely nordic, melodic lines, the compositions have a rich, tactile quality and breathe organically. Although completely acoustic, the sounds from the quartet may introduce a sense of wondrous confusion; what produces these sounds really?
The quartet seep through to a collaborative track with Skweee pioneer Beem, “A Scene Under Water”, as leftover test recordings becomes part of an organic collage of familiar and otherworldly sounds. In the middle sits a short piano improvisation warped through modular electronics and chance mechanisms into an ever-evolving piece of music, vividly painting a colorful imaginary underworld.
An electric guitar version of the title track functions as an intimate juxtaposition to the more expansive saxophone quartet adaptation. And all of these aural explorations are anchored by the home woven Tvärvägen-esque trio of songs “They Were Already Here”, “Imagine Rustling Pebbles” and “Cyclic Memories”.
Tvärvägen began as Henrik’s experimental side hustle back in 2008 when he was part of indie act Ironville and hip hop duo Amok, the latter whose songs were subsequently featured in Palme d’Or winner “The Square”. But soon enough Tvärvägen was his main endeavor and he has since then had a minor streaming hit with “Everything That Can Be Invented”, counting more than 6 million plays on Spotify. He has been dabbling with neo-classical music for string quartet as well as ethereal soundscapes and his songs have been featured in numerous tv- och radio shows, in documentaries, features, lifestyle, news, children’s shows and drama productions, primarily on Swedish public service broadcasting. In 2022 he was one of the Skap Award recipients.
Gustav Rådström: Alto Saxophone
Johannes Gammelgaard Lauritsen: Tenor Saxophone
Olle Vikström: Baritone Saxophone
Fredrik Mjelle: Modular Electronics
Henrik Öhberg: Piano, Synthesizer, Accordion, Electric GuitarTrack 1, 3 and 5 recorded at Atlantisstudion by Niclas Lindström.
Track 2, 4 and 8 recorded at home by Henrik Öhberg.
Track 6 recorded at Earth People by Fredrik Mjelle.
Track 7 recorded at Puch Studios by Petter Lindhagen.
Mixed by Henrik Öhberg.
Mastered by Classe Persson.
Cover photo by Stefan Bladh.
Design by Henrik Öhberg.