Contemporary classical that draws in electronic elements, from the wilds of Sweden. 'Natthall' is a view to a panorama of sweeping tones, just like its namesake, a mountain near producer-come-composer Sebastian's home town.
Natthall is the latest project by internationally recognized Swedish house, techno producer and live performer Sebastian Mullaert.
He was half of the duo Minilogue and founded the live concert series Circle of Live. With 'Natthall', Mullaert takes its worldwide fan base on a journey of sound with lush, warm synthesizer and wide soundscapes.
Cello and violin, played by musicians from the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, are accompanied by Mullaert's sounds and form the soundtrack for fifty minutes of relaxation and sheer beauty – just like the eponymous landscape and home of Sebastian. An exciting mix of neoclassical and ambient music.
The majesty of the natural world has always been integral to Sebastian’s music. His approach to art, as well as to life, is centred around meditating on nature’s primordial cycles and forces, things he has been fortunate to experience in abundance in his adopted village of Röstånga, in the south of Sweden. Situated on the edge of the Söderåsen National Park, it’s an area of outstanding beauty; primeval forests and huge boulders left over from the last ice age give the area an enchanted otherworld air.
One particular spot provided the inspiration for Mullaert’s latest project. Sitting atop a 50m ridge, 'Natthall' is a small, rocky bluff with majestic views east over the Rönne river, fields, and acres of trees. It’s a place he returns to often; to meditate, to think, or just to stare serenely out over the changing landscape. It’s that spontaneous transformation in the natural world that forms the emotional core of 'Natthall', a project that’s so much more than a mere album or series of concerts. This music is alive, constantly morphing and evolving in a way that’s reflective of nature. Reflective of ourselves even. Things change, things grow, things die. “That is our essence,” he says. “We are fruits of patterns. It’s beautiful to make music that reflects these things; I think that’s very healthy.”
A classically trained violinist, Mullaert broke through the house and techno scene in the mid-nineties winning international acclaim with his work as a producer and live performer. As a part of the Swedish alternative music scene, his career highlights include a Swedish Grammy - P3 Guild Awards (for his work under the Minilogue duo) in 2007 and a nomination for the same award in 2017 as a solo artist. His reputation as one of the most forward thinking and inventive electronic artists of the 21st century was cemented when in 2018 he launched Circle of Live, a groundbreaking improvised live concept which brings together some of the most extraordinary, electronic live artists in free-flowing collaborative jam sessions throughout some of the most prestigious venues and festivals around the world.
Back in 2017, with a desire to combine the two musical worlds, Mullaert scored and performed a collaborative concert with musicians of the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, one of Europe’s best symphony orchestras. An immersive audio visual performance, it took place at the spectacular Tonhalle concert hall in Zurich as part of their tonhalleLATE series. Naturally, the event was a triumph, but Mullaert wanted to do more with the repertoire, and further push the boundaries of what might be possible on stage. “Live instruments have a very powerful organic force,” he says. “I have a way of working in the studio, how I loop and record things, with all these effects, and soundscapes. And I wanted to know: ‘Can I move this whole process onto stage? To have the musicians playing something and actually capture them, and do that post-production at the same time as they’re playing?’”
Losing oneself in the music that forms the physical release of 'Natthall' certainly isn’t hard. Sinking into its warm embrace, all lush synth washes and widescreen soundscapes, one is struck by how organic it all sounds.
“The creative process is a fleeting thing,” he says. “You can’t decide what you are going to do.” Working against preconceived notions of what modern classical music can achieve, the music, and project, he has created is deep, unique, and full of raw beauty. He’s taken the intense, spiritual energy of Natthall and channelled it into art that brings us closer to nature, and ultimately, closer to ourselves. “When compositions feel right, it’s a wonderous thing,” he says. “Not all artists are blessed with that.” Natthall feels like a communion, and one we should all partake in.
1. Living Invitation - 06:02
2. As the River Pass - 06:56
3. No Words for a Beautiful World - 07:18
4. Ascending of a Spotless Bird - 05:24
5. Undressing the Sky - 06:51
6. Views of Natthall - 05:49
7. Moonwaker - 06:36
8. Woods of Admittance - 05:09
9. Rest of the Heron - 06:07
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