The sim­ple and rather beau­ti­ful draw­ing on the cov­er of Waves of Haste offers a hint of what awaits lis­ten­ers of this new album by Dan­ish artist Hjalte Ross, his sec­ond so far. The illus­tra­tion by Kasper Eistrup is of the head of a young man – per­haps Hjalte him­self. He is lying on a beach, a giant shell pressed to his ear and an expres­sion of seren­i­ty and still­ness as he absorbs the briny secrets offered up by the shell .

Waves of Haste offers a wash of calm­ing, rich­ly tex­tured num­bers that were inspired by two loca­tions which could not have been more dif­fer­ent – Ross spent time in a desert­ed light­house off Nor­way’s Lofoten Island, only acces­si­ble by boat. He fol­lowed this by fly­ing to New York City where he immersed him­self in the pulse and thrum of the metrop­o­lis. Pre virus naturally. 

This new work was record­ed with John Wood, famed for work­ing his unique mag­ic touch on albums by John Mar­tyn, Pink Floyd, Cat Stevens, Nico and Nick Drake. It is this lat­ter artist who is so much in evi­dence on Hjalte Ross’s album, and the soul­ful warmth and star­tling clar­i­ty of its pro­duc­tion val­ues are sure to win the appre­ci­a­tion of Nick Drake fans.

The album unfolds with Ross’s more melan­cholic num­bers, such as the bal­lad Adren­a­line and the thought­ful, brood­ing qual­i­ty of How Am I Sup­posed to Feel – a lush arrange­ment with strings and Ross’s dis­tinc­tive deep, whis­pered vocals lay­ered over the instrumentation. 

The sec­ond half of the album seems to shift into a dif­fer­ent space – more var­ied and exper­i­men­tal, with a play­ful note enter­ing some of the com­po­si­tions. Hjal­te’s recent sin­gle, Think­ing About You, is pos­si­bly the most upbeat (review here). 

Most intrigu­ing is the track named sim­ply Hol­i­days, a brit­tle num­ber which packs a moody punch, anguish seep­ing from its every pore. This is no glo­ri­ous sum­mer romance of a song, more of a love affair reach­ing a des­per­ate place with no res­o­lu­tion. “Hol­i­days, and my heart is aching”.

Waves of Haste is a con­fi­dent work which grows on you with each play, but under­neath Hjalte Ross’s sooth­ing deliv­ery lies a dark­er and more search­ing nar­ra­tive which adds a deep­er per­spec­tive to the album. 

Waves of Haste: Pro­duced by Hjalte Ross, engi­neered by John Wood, mixed & mas­tered by Daniel James Good­win, record­ed at Dream­land Stu­dio
Hjalte Ross

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