Review | Kristoffer Gildenlöw – Empty

New Joke Music

Since 2013 Swedish multi-instrumentalist/singer Kristoffer Gildenlöw has released (including ‘Empty’) five solo-albums now, and they are all different from each other. Next to his solo material Kristoffer has played in Kayak and is also involved with Philosophobia and projects where he comes in as session musician. On his own albums the man has established himself as a storyteller extraordinaire as his lyrics are thoughtful, urging you in a friendly manner to think about your life and the choices you make. On ‘Empty’ things are not much different as yet again the lyrics are dealing with the human existence, questioning our time on earth.


The mood of the album is quite atmospheric, although we must confess that ‘Empty’ has more prog-rock influences than ever. Yes, there are still several singer/songwriter moments with ‘spoken word’ singing, but it all adds to the ambiance that ‘Empty’ creates. This album is just different from several predecessors such as ‘Let Me Be A Ghost’, ‘Homebound’, ‘The Rain’ and ‘Rust’ although you will find enough comparisons between all these releases such as the spoken word parts.


So, what makes ‘Empty’ so different then? The album has much more prog-rock elements and is overall heavier as well. The main difference in my humble opinion is the guitar work. Some tracks have just epic proportions. Take for instance ,,Down We Go’’ or the title-track. If I did not know any better, I would think that Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour spent a few days in the studio with Kristoffer laying down some memorable guitar solos. And also ,,Means To An End’’ gives me the feeling that a certain Mike Oldfield made a hefty contribution. That is not the case of course but it just gives a concrete indication of the direction that ‘Empty’ has been given by its creator. Obviously Pink Floyd has been a major inspiration for Kristoffer as also opening track ,,Time To Turn The Page’’ has this Floydish-feel, rocking along nicely.


Kristoffer Gildenlöw is a singer that creates a certain mood. He has a deep and dark voice and he knows how to hit a nerve with that. Sometimes using spoken word, sometimes singing more clearly, but it all adds a certain touch to the songs. He is living proof that you do not need big power to bring your message across. It can be done in a subtle manner as well.


‘Empty’ is for me the best stuff that mister Gildenlöw has come up with until now. The influences may be obvious but he has put his own stamp on the proceedings and has created an album that is intriguing from start until the finish. The songs are piece by piece excellent, the instrumentation is varied yet rocking and the guitar work is really to die for if you are into David Gilmour-type of stuff. It is an album though that might need a bit of time to gel but when you got the picture, you really will appreciate ‘Empty’ for what it is. A crazy and shining diamond!

Release date: 24 February 2024



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