Jonas Hellborg: Stars of the Morning Sky


Stars of the Morning Sky



Ars Moriende (Day Eight Music DEM 034)

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Jonas Hellborg (bass),

Glen Velez (percussion)


Composed by Jonas Hellborg


Recorded: Garsnas, Sweden, 1995


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

Famed percussionist Glen Velez is Jonas Hellborg's collaborator on Ars Moriende. The Middle East, India and Eastern Europe can be heard in his rhythms. His main axe is the frame drum, which has a drumhead diameter wider than its depth. Velez's approach to playing it is both modern and ancient, acknowledging his instrument's long history.

During the period in which Ars Moriende was conceived and recorded, Hellborg a deeply serious fellow was thinking a lot about death. If I were to joke about this, I would say it was probably during one of his "feel good" phases. Reading old Hellborg interviews can really set your head spinning. If he doesn't like something, he makes no bones about it. And he doesn't like most things. Negative is the operative word. Be that as it may, "Stars of the Morning Sky" could very well be a song for the dead. Aided by Velez's textural flourishes and later his heavy beats, Hellborg reaches into the netherworlds to pull out some really disturbing dank riffs. As always, Hellborg amazes with his skill and emotiveness. Velez is asked to play for a dirge. He complies. If the music wasn't meant to honor those who have left us, it will certainly make them turn in their graves.

Ironically, or maybe not so, "Stars of the Morning Sky" is the album's most fun-loving cut. Five points were taken off the rating because it depressed me.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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