HNNY – Ta Paus

8.5

Following on from his Grammy award-winning album ‘Sunday’, Johan Cederberg (aka HNNY) treats us to the second LP in his discography, ‘Ta Paus’, to be released on Omena Records. Having previously had a string of successful releases on Local Talk, Permanent Vacation and Studio Barnhus, HNNY returns from an 18-month hiatus armed with 6 delicately composed tracks, signalling a shift towards an even more ambient angle.

The Swede launched his own labels in 2013, Puss and Yummy, together with compatriot Kornél Kovács. Together with this responsibility, HNNY has continued to uphold his unique style of production, often wading through a catalogue of RnB and hip-hop inspired samples to construct his tracks. Early releases such as ‘For The Very First Time’ and ‘No’ epitomize his sample-saturated brand of production.

Johan Cederberg’s waning enthusiasm for the classic four-on-the-floor style seems to explain the divergence towards a more thoughtful yet melancholic outlook on ‘Ta Paus’. This breakaway from more conventional house tones may well be a result of his 18-month absence. In a rare interview with Flux just weeks before his abrupt withdrawal, HNNY hinted at a preference to an ambient direction of production, revealing that in the past couple of years, he ‘really got into’ the genre. It’s no secret that HNNY has substantially reduced his workload, with currently no shows officially planned. Together with his hiatus, this adjustment to his lifestyle is very much encapsulated by the melodic 12-inch, which winds us down into a ruminative state of mind.

With its slow, classical piano riffs, the LP persuades us to meander along the drawn-out coastlines of HNNY’s revered capital city, Stockholm. True to the laidback lifestyle exuded by the Scandinavians, the opening track ‘Moln’ creates a soothing atmosphere through gently oscillating electronic blends, which are suggestive of early Four Tet releases. The tranquil tempo introduced in the second track ‘Till Dig’ provides subtle structure, on which piano twinkles begin to thrive. Translating literally into English, ‘Ta Paus’ (take a break) guides us along a path rich with nostalgia, offering glimpses into HNNY’s life from youth, to present. The track ‘Blomstertid’ alludes to a domestic school-time hymn, while the closing track ‘Trettio’ (thirty) is almost certainly an indicator of Cederberg’s age.

HNNY’s departure from lucrative house music production makes this LP even more laudable. A more introspective, peaceful and private side of the Swede shines through on this sumptuous 12-inch, which you can pre-order here.