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Tor Lundvall

Yule

(Strange Fortune; US: 23 Nov 2006; UK: Available as import)

Still juiced up from the holiday season? Is your blood pressure still running at about 240/150? Has the protruding vein in the middle of your forehead that developed in late December threatened to make itself a permanent fixture?  Tor Lundvall has whipped up the miracle medicine to cure all of that, in his own release dedicated to the holiday season, a mini-album called Yule. Rather than concentrating on the man-made hustle or bustle that the season tends to be overwhelmed by, Yule is far more grounded in nature, in landscapes, and in distant looks at peaceful, snowy towns. Most of the tracks on Yule are short; two or three-minute thoughts more than songs, really, quick meditations on surprisingly lovely minutiae. “The Train Home” is Yule‘s instrumental pinnacle, approximating the sound of the coming train in quiet, clicky percussion, and concentrating mostly on what one would see out the window of said train, as icy bells and the distant sound of wind chimes permeate the majority of the atmosphere. Lundvall allows his voice to enter the mix on other tracks, sounding like a less-worn Neil Young in his quiet, humble way, and somehow not distracting from the smooth soundscapes behind him one bit—an admirable feat, given that in most cases, a human voice would absolutely ruin this sort of atmosphere. After all of these short vignettes, Yule closes with “The Falling Snow”, the perfect glacially-paced track for falling asleep after the relaxation of the previous nine songs. Yule likely won’t make too many mainstream Christmas playlists, and yet it’s the sort of little treasure that just about anyone could probably appreciate around this time of year. As the album was pressed in a limited run of a mere 333 copies, you would be advised to find yours immediately.

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Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


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