The majesty of the natural world has always been integral to Sebastian Mullaert’s music. His approach to art, as well as to life, is centered around meditating on nature’s primordial cycles and forces, things he has been fortunate to experience in abundance in his adopted village of Röstånga, in the south of Sweden. Situated on the edge of the Söderåsen National Park, it’s an area of outstanding beauty; primeval forests, deep ravines, and huge boulders left over from the last ice age give the area an enchanted, otherworld air.
One particular spot provided the inspiration for Mullaert’s latest project and forthcoming album. Sitting atop a 50m ridge, Natthall is a small, rocky bluff with majestic views east over the Rönne river, fields, and acres of trees. It’s a place he returns to often; to meditate, to think, or just to stare serenely out over the changing landscape. It’s that spontaneous transformation in the natural world that forms the emotional core of Natthall, a project that’s so much more than a mere album or series of concerts. These songs – this music – is alive, constantly morphing and evolving in a way that’s reflective of nature. Reflective of ourselves even. Things change, things grow, things die.
“That is our essence,” he says. “We are fruits of patterns. It’s beautiful to make music that reflects these things; I think that’s very healthy.” – Sebastian Mullaert
A classically trained violinist, Mullaert broke through the house and techno scene in the mid-nineties winning international acclaim with his work as a producer and live performer. As a part of the Swedish alternative music scene, his career highlights include a Swedish Grammy – P3 Guild Awards (for his work under the Minilogue duo) in 2007 and a nomination for the same award in 2017 as a solo artist. His reputation as one of the most forward-thinking and inventive electronic artists of the 21st century was cemented when in 2018 he launched Circle of Live, a groundbreaking improvised live concept which brings together some of the most extraordinary, electronic live artists in free-flowing collaborative jam sessions throughout some of the most prestigious venues and festivals around the world.
Patterns, and the idea of subtle repetition, deeply inform ‘Natthall’. “Nature is an expression of patterns; trees, water, the weather”, he explains. “This mix of everything, bubbling away, feels very vital. Improvised music has the same power. It has all these different phases, and beautiful moments just spring out. For me, that’s a beautiful presentation of our life and has the power to actually invite someone to relax into listening or dancing. Or just being in the moment”. Mullaert’s ultimate goal is to carve out space precisely for that, transcendent moments that go beyond mere music where his audience can turn inward and truly connect with themselves.
“The magical thing is not the music and not the artist. It’s when people become very conscious or present when that experience is taking place in your consciousness. That’s the magic; it’s as much you, as it is something outside of you. It’s that connection when it clicks together.” – Sebastian Mullaert
The ‘Natthall’ LP is out on 18th September via Neue Meister Records.