ambient ambient classical cello classical contemporary classical review

Henrik Meierkord – Kval Review

Cello so slow its practically still.

Sounds like…

The review

Before we get underway, can we all agree that Meierkord sounds like an amazing name for a musical instrument? Just me? It could be a glacial ambient synth that mixes together cello samples for instance. I say this because ‘Kval’, Henrik Meirekord’s 2021 album, is entirely based on this concept.

The emotional compass of ‘Kval’ is that of sorrow, loss and doubt. The cello pairs up with these emotions exceptionally well and what Henrik does is stretch a note, riff or string bend down to a long drawn out pull. The album is 74 minutes long and the majority of the first 45 minutes feel like cryostasis. It is a mixture of long icy drones mixed with singular cello notes that just keep going. The odd frill and flutter occur but the entire album is focused on providing a feeling of post-concussion system shock. It is an acquired taste but if you click with it, you’ll find solace in the sadness.

photo of Henrik Meierkord
Henrik Meierkord

‘Kval’ opens up to be more melodic later in the album. ‘Mannen I Havet’ and ‘Drom’ bring in music boxes and synths alongside radio tuning frequencies to open up the musical palette. The music sits in the classical ambient space but this pushes it further into dreamlike sound therapy. ‘Monster’ brings in marching cello motifs for the most bombastic piece on the album. It is only fleeting though as the soft, rounded singing bowl-shaped cello notes return with clods for the 11-minute closer ‘Andrum’.

Whilst I personally struggled a little with its very purposeful singular notes, it is an album that suits a very specific mood. If you want a cathartic ambient hour to bawl your eyes out to, Henrik Meierkord has you covered here. It encompasses an overwhelming loss and the stillness of time very well. Just don’t expect huge melodies or gestures of grandeur. This is stillness 101. If that appeals to you, please do bump that final score up a point or two. I know this is good, it just didn’t quite click with me.

Recommended track: Drom

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Henrik Meierkord - Kval

6.5

6.5/10

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