This is Henrik Hytteballe’s 5th album Gratitude, he is joined by Duduk on guitar and cello as The Haiku Project.
This is entertaining music. I have to say the guitar adds that extra element that makes an instrumental ambient album entirely different.
I would be hesitant to put this into a sub-genre to new age but there is enough there that qualifies it. There are strong elements of rock and some jazz woven into the ten tracks offered here. In other words, to be honest, this is not music that is easily defined but I loved it. It is the guitar that reaches over that line into new territories when you are discussing instrumental music of the ambient nature.
Now I am wondering what the previous four releases from The Haiku Project sound like and I will have to explore that realm some more. I enjoy the challenge of attempting to explain what it is I am exactly hearing. There is a lot to listen to and absorb and that is good thing for any listener that needs some variety and wonderment of what is coming next. That for me is the brilliance of artists that have the wherewithal to produce an entire recording that holds your interest from start to finish.
In 2003 Henrik began studying at D.A.R.K. The Alternative Rhythmic Conservatory in Copenhagen, with piano as his main instrument. He is a very progressive artist and the development of his sound is apparent on this release. It surely is alternative, and alternative to any typical ambient or electronica album you may hear. His studies there surely brought him to an entirely different mindset and approach to what kind of music he would create.
One listen to “Hummingbird” tells the story here (look at the album art). Everything that is cutting edge and cool about the world of instrumental music comes bubbling to the surface on this track. Again, I have to say I am loving every minute of this and would love to hear it all on a vinyl LP, filling my entire room with all of its many colors, textures, atmospheres and brilliant musicianship. There is more, much more to engross you in, but I felt that track was one of the best tracks that showed off the diversity of the music and how it all comes together into one cohesive unit of sound.
I think the theme or concept if you will, has all the markings of a new age thought pattern. Musically this is a different road and one I would not mind traveling again real soon. I do have Gratitude for Henrik Hytteballe and Dudek for this amazing soundscape I have enjoyed on The Haiku Project.
If you enjoy instrumental music in particular, I have no doubt you will find a lot to enjoy on Gratitude.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 17, 2020
01. Choices 4:48
02. Before Sunset 7:22
03. Another Spring 6:24
04. I Receive 4:50
05. Wide Open Space 4:14
06. Rivendell 4:40
07. My Life 5:14
08. Hummingbird 6:04
09. Fjord 3:52
10. Gratitude 6:14