ORGAN THING: Kim Myhr’s latest album, Sympathetic Magic, is alive with emotion, a deliciously inviting engaging set of warm pieces…

Kim Myhr – Sympathetic Magic (Hubro) – Now this is a rather warm relaxing joyous new album, Sympathetic Magic is the follow-up to Kim Myhr’s 2017 album You | me, an album that was, so we’re told, widely praised and indeed received an honorary mention at the 2018 Nordic Music Prize. And yes, the immersive warmth of You | me is still present, Sympathetic Magic is probably more expansive than its predecessor though. A band of eight musicians playing a wide variety of instruments including electric 12-string guitars, drum machines, vocals, synthesizers, organs and lots of drums and percussion, “this is a work of a slightly grander scale”.

Sympathetic Magic is alive with emotion, a deliciously inviting engaging set of warm pieces of music (and everything the fine cover art suggests it is going to be). A big piece of work reflecting Kim Myhr’s growing reputation as an artist and composer. Not too big though, this does feel intimate, it does feel comfortable and yes this is (another) beautiful album (lot of beautiful music being made at the moment, I make no apology for the overuse of the “beautiful” word around here in recent times), These tracks shimmer, they glow,  a “collection of song-like structures that has expanded into symphonic proportions”

Move The Rolling Sky is a glorious piece, something refreshingly different, Up To The Sun Shall Go Your Heartache is powerful, heartfelt, the whole album is. I kind of feel I should be a little bit more constructively critical, like I should try to find a hole to pick at, something to give the review some credibility but there really are no holes, the whole this is just a joyous uplifting experience. And yes, instrumental on the whole but these are song-like pieces – “With You | me, I wanted to create an ocean of sound, where the listener is surrounded by a myriad of elements that has equal importance in the music. I wanted to challenge this a bit, to push certain elements forward. The result is a more song-like kind of music than what I’ve done before.” – Kim Myhr

Just before starting working on Sympathetic Magic, Kim bought an old 70s Yamaha organ (the YC45d), after falling in love with the sound of it on different recordings. At first, he thought the organ would be a subtle element on the new record, but it ended up becoming a focal point: “It’s a brilliant in-your-face sound that brought an ecstatic quality to the music. Playing around with this instrument, along with an 80s Roland Juno synth and a new drum machine took the music in new directions.” – Kim Myhr

Thematically, Sympathetic Magic circles around a longing for collectivity and togetherness. While the world was locked down in 2021, thanks to a commission from Oslo Jazz Festival, Kim had the opportunity to delve deeply into this project, working with the members of the band, one at a time: “The music created a situation of unexpected positivity. It felt like a social project even if I spent most of the time on it alone. And all this positive, joyful energy felt quite magical, arriving like out of thin air in this otherwise grim situation. It all felt like a hallucination, which fed back into the music. Sympathetic Magic is like a dream within a dream.” – Kim Myhr

And right now as it all flows and swells and fills the room I’m just giving you these snippets from the press release – The title of the record is a term coined by James Frazer in The Golden Bough. He writes: “things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed”.

“In a closed down world where all our connections with the outside suddenly are remote or absent, the line between the real and imaginary is blurred. I felt that the term perfectly summed up the thoughts, processes and sentiments that went into the making of this record”, says Myhr.

Hey look, the nine gentle minutes of I Wonder If I Shall Fall Right Through The Earth are flowing by right now and I could just repeat what I’ve said already and  I could go on about painterly colour and pieces alive with delight and fine fine pictures and more but really, I Think I’ve said it all already, this is a fine fine album, a really enjoyable album, yes, a beautiful album, an album that really does speak for itself…  (sw)

Find the album and order details on Bandcamp or via Hubro Music – that little Hubro sticker in the corner was always an indication of quality, not seen it for a long while, good to see they’re still out there releasing music.

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Norwegian guitarist and composer Kim Myhr has been touring internationally since the early 2000s and has released several records under his own name. His album You | me (2017) was nominated to Nordic Music Prize, and received wide acclaim internationally

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