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På skive


«Watch and Pray»

The EP «Watch and Pray», the sixth album of Swedish singer-songwriter-producer David Åhlén, relates to the frail state of mind we experience when we stand before death and is dedicated to Åhlén’s mother Birgitta Åhlén (1940-2021) and sister Tabita Green (1974-2020). Like the previous releases of Åhlén, it is an almost impossible blend of reverent, mystic textures, angelic falsetto voice and chamber arrangements that float freely between classic string music (he quotes Italian Rennaisance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina), art-rock (My Bloody Valentine) and experimental electronics.

Åhlen’s falsetto voice is at the focal point of the five songs and suggests an immediate intimacy,  almost within breathing distance. The opening song «My Only Treasure», with lyrics by Swedish mystic Linnea Hofgren, and «And Her Voice Was Heard» with a text taken from Odes of Salomon (24:1-2), frame the strong emotional, mournful but always compassionate essence of this album, with reserved, chamber-folk ambient soundscapes.

«My Soul’s Beloved» and «Yedid Nefesh» are based on the traditional Jewish piyyut sung on Shabbat and deepen the reverent, prayerful of Åhlen («Please, O God heal her now / sing your song over her now»), a strong believer himself and with strong ties to the Holy Land. The last song, «Watch and Pray», with the delicate and atmospheric arrangement of harp and string instrument, dissolves genres boundaries and suggests a modest, thankful perspective towards our close ones: «Don’t walk away / Child, don’t walk away / I made a path for you, I made it clear for you…» Only 13-minute long but linger in mind much longer with its sheer beauty.

Eyal Hareuveni

David Åhlén (v, el.g., bar.g, synth, elec), Ester Åhlén (v) Lisa Rydberg (vio), Svante Henryson (c), Andreaz Hedén (p, pedal org), Lárus Sigurðsson (harp), Sofia Johnsson (vio) 

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