In The Labyrinth is the brainchild of the Swedish songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Lindahl, who plays, amongst others, guitars, bass guitar, synthesizer, piano, mandolin, percussion, the mighty Mellotron and a number of exotic instruments like the saz, zither, viola de gamba and the darbouka. Most of the time he's assisted by Håkan Almkvist on sitar, e-bow guitar, electric bass and tabla. From the mid to the late nineties, Lindahl has recorded three albums under this moniker: The Garden Of Mysteries (1994), Walking On Clouds (1999) and Dryad (2002).
People who missed these releases might be interested in this compilation album. It includes his most interesting compositions, some previously unreleased material as well as alternate versions of songs from Lindahl's exclusive personal archive. So these songs mark a time frame from 1993 to 2004. On this release you can expect atmospheric Scandinavian folk blended with psychedelic and Middle Eastern elements made by instruments such as the sitar, the saz or the tabla. Those instruments are especially played by Håkan Almkvist, who collaborates on nearly all tracks.
Of course, the input of both musicians in the music of In The Labyrinth is significant. However, you can't say that you're listening to a duo, because they're supported by many musicians both for the instrumental and the vocal parts, like background vocalists Helena Selander (tracks 1,5,9,12,13), Helena Jacobssen (track 3), Kristina Fuentes (track 8), Karin Langhard-Gejel (track 5), flautist Mikael Gejel (track 3, sampler on track 4), archlute player Robert Eklund (track 12), guitarist-bassist Stefan Andersson (track 11), violinist Marcos Chagallo (track 12) and Ulf Hansson on darbouka in track 4.
This release certainly has its fine moments, especially if you like some mellow stuff. However, one hour filled with only mellow music can sometimes be too long. Sure, from time to time the Mellotron parts sound interesting and give the music a progressive rock sound, but I would rather like to hear more up-tempo passages in the music that provide for more variety in the compositions. Now the music tends to sound as new age music that reminded me of the mellower albums recorded by the Austrian musician Gandalf. Certain parts also seem to be influenced by early Tangerine Dream, especially as far as the Mellotron parts are concerned. The ethnic influences throughout the album are very original and made me think of the way Peter Gabriel added them to his music. However, I must admit that after a while I got a bit bored of all these ethnic sounds.
Yet the mixture of Middle Eastern, Indian raga, Scandinavian folklore, Turkish folk music, world music, new age, ambient, psychedelic and progressive rock is very original. Therefore I would like to invite all prog rock devotees to give this music a try despite the fact that it certainly differs from what we generally regard to be prog rock music.
**+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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