The Dark Night of the Soul by Jonathan Hultén (2017)

Last night, when I was already in bed, I turned off the lights, put my headphones on and let the music of Jonathan Hultén’s The Dark Night of the Soul lead me to the land of dreams. For the ones that don’t know who is Jonathan Hultén, he also plays and composes music for Tribulation and have some solo projects like this one.

The Dark Night of the Soul was realeased as EP last August, but I discovered it a couple of days ago when I was googling about Tribulation. The EP includes four songs, titled Angished are the Young, Leaving, …And the Pillars Tremble and Nightly Sun. Don’t expect any of them to sound metal because this isn’t a metal work, but amazing Nordic folk. Songs are really minimalist, mainly built by vocals (in the case of …And the Pillars Tremble, there’s only vocals), which create the melodies and bear almost all of the weight of the song, turning into a crucial element that catches all the attention. Acoustic guitar is the next predominant instrument. And that’s all apart from clapping (a detail I really loved, very folky) and some synthesizer details in one of the songs. Despites their simplicity, songs are complex and diverse enough, showing off an incredible variety of shades.

Regarding the mood of the music, I found it nicely contradictory. As the title of the album references the night but the main color in the artwork is yellow, a color related to dawn, same happens with the music. It is definetly nocturne, but also hopeful, and it made me constantly evoke the sun rising above the Nordic forest and the end of the darkness of the night. Although this was the general mood, the truth is that the music was like a roller coaster of emotions, going from dark and disquitting passing by mythical and primal and finally turning comforting and warm. Lyrics were poetic and evocative, discussing deep topics like death, time, freedom and life (You will laugh and you will cry, we’re all young until the day we die).

This is not music to listen to while you’re on the underground or on the bus going to work, or while you’re rushing to the next place you have to be at on a busy day. The Dark Night of the Soul deserves to be listened to with all our attention in a calm place where we can let ourselves go and admire the beauty of this piece of art. Personally, I’ve never listened to something this original.

(By the way, tonight I’ve slept better than any other day after listening to this album 😉 )

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