Kalypso Hypnos Drone is a 58-minute, haunting meditation by the Swedish, sax player-composer Martin Küchen’s Angles octet, augmented by vocalist Ella-Kari Sander (from the local The Tiny and The Other Woman bands) and a string quartet, that tell over and through the myth of Kalypso (who, in Greek mythology and according to Homer’s Odyssey, was a nymph who detained Odysseus for seven years. She promised Odysseus immortality if he would stay with her, but Odysseus preferred to return home). The Thanatosis Production describes this unique sonic epos in terms of a meeting between Quentin Tarantino’s iconic film Pulp Fiction (1994) and English composer of Baroque music Henry Purcell, or a meeting of jazz composer Carla Bley and Portishead’s vocalist-lyricist Beth Gibbons.
Kalypso Hypnos Drone was recorded at Atlantis Studios in Stockholm in October 2022 and was funded by a crowdfunding campaign that still goes on. Kalypso Hypnos Drone is the first album to emanate from this project. Apart from the full 58-minute version, the digital release of Kalypso Hypnos includes several versions of different lengths, and the album will be released also in a double vinyl version in April 2024.
The Kalypso Hypnos Drone suite, with libretto composed by Küchen and intricate arrangements by pianist Alex Zethson, is meant to be a kind of jazz opera of our times, «an archaic pantheon reflecting a self-indulgent hyper-modern humanity’, though without being neither very jazzy nor operatic». It is a slow and melancholic, dark and deep-toned, linear but intimate piece, where Sander’s crystal clear, solitary wordless vocals and the string-based drone suggest a feeling of a vast and softly rolling sea, on which elusive ships of brass and reeds gradually appear and disappear, interspersed with sparsely placed vibraphone tones twinkling briefly only to decay.
Surprisingly, despite its dark and melancholic tone Kalypso Hypnos Drone vibrates through past and present and radiates a calm atmosphere. Its evocative and caressing, soft motifs with their inspired kind of introspective pathos and bliss act like «a bulwark against the future».
Elle-Kari Sander (vocals), Martin Küchen (saxophone), Magnus Broo (trumpet), Mats Äleklint (trombone), Johan Berthling (double bass), Konrad Agnas (drums), Mattias Ståhl (vibraphone), Alex Zethson (piano), Fredrik Ljungkvist (clarinet), Anna Lindal (octave violin), Eva Lindal (violin), Brusk Zanganeh (violin), My Hellgren (cello)