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Music Review: Helga Arvesten – ‘Don’t Speak’ Suffuses Beautiful Alt-Pop Colors

Helga Arvesten recently released the music video for “Don’t Speak.” Born in Harnosand, Sweden, at the age of six Arvesten moved with her family to Sri Lanka, followed by six years in South Africa and three years in Laos. Later, she attended Idyllwild Arts Academy, studying jazz and classical vocals. After graduating, she attended Brunnsviks Folkhogskola in Sweden. Then she studied at BoomTown, a school devoted to the business of music and artistic development. With producer Ulf Ivarsson, she released her first EP in 2016.

Evocative Music

According to Arvesten, “Like all my music, and all things I create, it is vital that it evokes a reaction from the listener. These songs are my emotions and thoughts in their rawest form. That’s what makes it extra exciting to share. I could tell you how I felt at a certain time in my life, but the music hopefully takes you to the exact moment and entraps you in the emotions.”

“Don’t Speak” is the second of a trio of singles. Arvesten’s stylistic approach, which includes alt-pop, electronic and rock elements, along with her inimitable voice, has received analogies to Bjork and Kate Bush.

“Don’t Speak” opens with a strumming guitar and Arvesten’s mellifluous voice. The alt-pop flow of the music carries filaments of alt-rock, imbuing the tune with a glowing, shimmering energy. The music slowly builds in intensity until it achieves an expansive blushing luminosity full of delicious textures. Ethereal background vocal harmonies add delicate translucent colors as the music crescendos.

Gentle, Swelling Emergence

I love the gracious expression of the music, a gentle emergence that swells to sonic ramparts like waves of streaming confrontation. The emotion conveyed in Arvesten’s elegant tones is crushing, awesome and irresistible, all at the same time. Her voice exudes a simple clarity that’s charming, yet asserts its vitality.

The video presents powerful images of love gone awry, as if Arvesten, a priori, is attempting to infer the truth of the relationship directly from the mishmash of thoughts and emotions swirling through her mind. The effect is powerfully moving, even emotionally jarring.

“Don’t Speak” is gorgeous. The escalation of the harmonic progression synthesized with Arvesten’s rich, diaphanous voice coruscates with brilliant energy. Helga Arvesten is an artist to keep your eye on. There’s an indefinable flair to her music that’s captivating.

Follow Helga Arvesten on her website and via Facebook.

About Randall Radic

Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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