Lalle Larsson - Nightscapes

(CD 2012, 69:17, Reingold Records)

The tracks:
  1- Insomnia
  2- A Dream Of A Thousand Weaves
  3- Rainbow's Gold
  4- Zero Hour
  5- Nocturne
  6- Nightscapes Suite
  7- Dawn Sheds a Final Tear

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Lalle Larsson is best known for his contributions on the albums recorded by Karmakanic and Agents Of Mercy, but this excellent Swedish keyboardist has also a career of his own (see interview). Especially the albums made as Lalle Larsson's Weaveworld are considered to be top-notch in the genre. With Nightscapes he has completed his Weaveworld trilogy; this album was preceded by Weaveworld (2009, see review) and Infinity Of Worlds (2010). This trilogy is an instrumental series of albums on which Mr. Larsson shows that he and his fellow-musicians are able to play all kinds of musical genres. They blend jazz-rock, fusion, metal, progressive rock and classical music into a very enjoyable musical melting pot.

Together with his fellow-Weaveworld travellers Richard Hallebeek (guitars), Stefan Rosqvist (guitar), Jonas Reingold (bass) and Walle Wahlgren (drums), Lalle Larsson takes you on an interesting musical journey. The seven tracks on Nightscape are all of an excellent quality level. Listening to the almost seventy minutes of music is certainly no waste of time. The CD starts rather heavy with the up-tempo piece Insomnia, which is a perfect mix of prog metal and jazz-rock. The Dutch musician Richard Hallebeek shows that he's capable of playing rather heavy guitar riffs beside a number of fusion licks as well. This track also contains some excellent synthesizer solos by Larsson.

As far as style is concerned A Dream Of A Thousand Weaves is more suitable for devotees of prog rock, although the heavy rock parts are still present just like the brilliant jazz-rock passages. The influences of classical music show up for the first time by some fine playing on the acoustic piano. Larsson's great piano work provides enough room for Hallebeek to perform some terrific melodic guitar parts. Like a shadow Larsson reproduces these parts more or less on his synthesizer demonstrating again to be a great musician. On this track Hallebeek proves to be a master on the acoustic guitar as well. Together with the perfect bass parts of Jonas Reingold they make sure that this piece is one of the highlights on Nightscapes. On Rainbow's Gold the classical influences are again evident. On this slow starting piece the acoustic piano works perfectly in combination with the fretless bass. When the tempo goes up a bit and the drummer joins in, both the electric guitar and the synthesizer get enough room to shine.

Zero Hour starts up-tempo and again the heavy guitar parts create a perfect background over which the other instruments can do their soloing. After a while the pace slows down and a kind of Happy The Man atmosphere comes to the surface. A synthesizer solo in the vein of Kit Watkins fills my room before the music is shifting gear again. Nocturne is almost classical music; this mellow track is a kind of duet performed by Larsson and Hallebeek on the acoustic piano and the acoustic guitar. I almost got tears in my eyes when I heard this beautiful piece of music for the first time.

The longest track lasts more than 24 minutes. On the Nightscapes Suite all of the aforementioned influences come together and it mainly shows the virtuosity of the musicians involved. This epic piece is without doubt the ultimate highlight on the album. It was a wise decision to end the album with the rather mellow song Dawn Sheds A Final Tear after this long track. This is a beautiful track and another duet, but this time Larsson and Reingold play a classical inspired piece performed on the keyboards and the fretless bass guitar. After this final piece a nice surprise can be heard. First there's a silence of several minutes, but just when I wanted to switch off my CD player some music came out of the speakers! For people who like an instrumental blend of jazz-rock, fusion, metal, progressive rock and classical music, Nightscapes is an excellent addition to their CD collection.

**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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