My Face Will Shine – David Åhlén (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There are a few words which get over used in music writing. Words such as haunting, ethereal, otherworldly,  I should know as I, as much as anyone, have been responsible for their dissemination and proliferation. But how can you review music as gorgeous, as unique, as unusual, as mystical as David Åhlén’s without at least dipping into such a reserve? Well, let me try.

If music reflects its surroundings then it is worth noting that My Face Will Shine was written after the Swedish multi-instrumentalist relocated from the hustle and hassle of big city life to the big skies and open spaces of the island community of Gottland. Here he used his free time to study Judaeo-Christian texts and the work of Estonian musical mystic Arvo Pärt an others.

It seems perfectly logical that with such studies and reflections at work against such peaceful backdrops that the four tracks found here reflect those divine inspirations and tranquil surroundings. Using lush choral chamber arrangements, a disarmingly gorgeous falsetto and gentle ebbs and flows of music, he creates powerful yet understated liturgically inspired music.

It is difficult to put into words how affecting this music is and I suspect, like most devotional music, that it would benefit from being played at a high volume in a large space for full effect…for exactly the same reason that you need to watch certain films at the cinema rather than via the small, home TV screen.

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