Christian Kjellvander — Wild Hxmans
(Tapete TR 419, 2018, CD / LP / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2018-12-19
Swedish singer-songwriter Christian Kjellvander was part of the Swedish alternative country band Loosegoats until they disbanded in 2001. Since then he has pursued his solo career, releasing his ninth album Wild Hxmans this year. Starting with the title Wild Hxmans, we are thrown for a loop by the spelling. What does he mean by replacing “u” with “x?” How do you pronounce the title? Since we typically use an “x” to select items, vote, or to cross out mistakes, how does this relate to the music? Across the seven compelling and dark progressive folk songs Christian speaks of farewells and departures, of escape and the sensation of arriving in a new world, disruptions to our comfortable daily lives. He has an endearing deep voice that augments his intense and unique vision, drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and his early work. Augmenting his voice and vision, he incorporates ambient electronics, echoed and reverbed guitars, and other elements that let you feel his raw pain. Rather than comment on all seven tracks, I will touch on some of Wild Hxman’s interesting moments. The sad dreamy “Curtain Maker” was inspired by his encounter with a Syrian woman that speaks to the unbearable silence following a separation, the stillness that follows death. In contrast, “The Thing Is” is a mournful gothic western trip referring back to the 90s in Texas when his father and younger brother passed away. This song slowly builds to a climax, reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The high point of the album for me is “Halle Lay Lu Jah” with its quiet ambient drones, whistling, and grand piano. This gothic western song develops into a composition touching upon “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” “Love Xomes” conjures images of a nighttime Western highway and a transcontinental drifter. The album closes with “Faux Guernica,” an introspective song inspired by a road trip through the Basque country with his youngest son. These multifaceted songs make for an excellent and wonderful listening experience.
Related artist(s): Christian Kjellvander
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more