Otomatik Muziek / Germany / 2022
Disclaimer: Joachim Nordwall is one of those artists whose work I've been following for a long time, from the spastic no wave of Kid Kommando to the sprawling drone rituals of Skull Defekts, from the industrialized meditations of Saturn & The Sun, his collaboration records with the likes of Mats Gustaffson or Mika Vainio, to his multifaceted solo outputs, under his own name or the Idealist moniker... well you might get the point: I am a fanboy. So I write from a very biased perspective, but also as someone who kind of knows what this guy is doing.
And from this angle, HEALING MUSIC might be one of the best musics Nordwall has released. HEALING MUSIC is a focused and rhythmic record, but not as four to the floor-style as his Idealist releases. There‘s also a lot of organized noise, but not as ecstatic as with Saturn & The Sun. And yet, HEALING MUSIC triggers euphoria, that particularily good kind of stupor; It‘s as much movement as it is stasis.
Joachim Nordwall is well-versed in researching the mind-altering aspects of sound, and here, he‘s very close to the golden pond. Every track hits heavy in exactly the right way - the sounds are very controlled, target-oriented. The bursts and squeeks aim to hit your third ear, the repetetive elements lure you in, the bass punches right into the gut. And as much as Nordwall always flirted with the idea of dub, this might be his most dubby record in turns of reduction to and concentration on the essence of each of the individual sounds.
One thing I love about a lot of his collaboration records, especially the ones with Mark Wastell, is that you can hear how much of an active listener he is. And on HEALING MUSIC, you can hear how much active listening leads to creation - as heavy as these tracks are, the ego is absent.