Hans Appelqvist has been a busy fellow lately. His previous album (Naima) arrived only six months ago and found him creating his usual batch of humorous songs with sound effects, and it seems he shows no signs of slowing down. Sinfantin Och Mörkret is yet another solid little batch of tracks that are slightly more folky in nature (with one exception), but like his previous album contain a slew of completely odd and charming sound effects and field recordings that punctuate the music itself.
With twelve tracks running only twenty five minutes in length, it's probably closer to an EP than an album length, but it has enough pure charm in that time to more than compete. Sounds are introduced in one track, then reappear later, with everything from babbling children samples to slide whistles and flies buzzing. Musically, the album is lighthearted, but slightly melancholy in places, with an almost childlike sense of wonder that helps to move things along nicely. Opening track "Wanxian" is a perfect example, with woodwinds, flute, piano and dulcimer melodies all dancing around sparse bass notes as field recordings of birds play in the background. It's a lovely little first track, and introduces some sounds that make more prominent appearances later on.
"Tänk Att Himlens Alla Stjärnor" follows directly, and musically the song is relatively simple, with Appelqvist performing a rather straightforward song with only vocals and acoustic guitar. Around this very basic foundation, though, he layers loads samples that sound absolutely strange at first, but eventually make themselves completely essential, whether it's the sound of a lion growling, a kitten mewling, a dog barking, or odd whistles, drum hits, and a thunderstorm. "Freckenåges Spa" takes a different approach, with layered dulcimer and piano loops that rise and fall nicely as a subtle beat builds in behind them and mechanical whirs and whirlygig sounds spit out in places.
One of the things that I enjoy so much about the release is that it actually made me laugh a bit the first couple times I listened to it. Given that I can be somewhat humorless sometimes when it comes to listening to piles of music, it should say something that this little release gave me some moments of glee. It's playful, but at the same time can be moving and even downright pretty, with the quiet piano and sample-driven "Jag En Gök" being a perfect example. Falling somewhere between The Books, Múm, and the quiet moments of Jens Lekman, this enjoyable little release is full of surprises, including a closing track that goes in an almost 80s rock direction without sounding like it shouldn't even belong.