Mikael Lind – Contingencies (ARCHIVES, 2019)

The world is filled with possibilities and probabilities: every meeting you have, every new connection made, every chance encounter, changes the course of your future in some way. Even fleeting instances can spiral into unforeseen events in your causal timeline, all because of a moment.

As another expermentation into live improvisation by Lind, Contigencies embraces the notion of dynamic and changing circumstances, of fluxes both good and bad, and of our ability to follow or reject their course.

The opening couplet of “Simple Interactions” and “Burst of Electricity” beautifully exemplify the effortless pleasure and simplicity in destiny, of unexpected moments blossoming into bright futures and latent feelings bubbling out of their simmer. The former derives its power from uncomplicated and slow piano strokes, strings humming with painterly warmth, the whole piece surging with careful but delightful grace. The latter pushes it a little further, climbing with sparkling ivories and xylophonic twinklings to creeping but unsurprising crescendo, this path a long expected one.

In the mid-album, “The Source Is Modified” nods directly to the feeling of fractal, whirling possibilities freewheeling out ahead of us as it spins fragile piano keys out alongside toybox-like shimmerings. It’s a refractive, innocent world of ever changing light, prismatic bending in every direction as we will change through the present into brighter avenues ahead.

Of course there are darker moments too, such as in “Ideas Fade Away”, where grey drone clouds hum and groan, stretching at the seams. It’s a losing smear, the last dregs of passion rising like dying smoke from the embers of a fading flame. Hopeful highways turn to cul-de-sacs of lost love and bitter deficits, too reliant on the promise of the small initial kindling.

That’s why penultimate “Foundations” pushes for adaptation and the strengthening of resolve, of deliberate action and development through rigorous rhythms. The piano is circular, almost primitive, writing a concise plan and reinforcing it systematically, with bassier wedges driving piles into its form. The shape of things to come may be unpredictable, and it might not always follow the tack you had first envisaged, but there are definitely things that can be done to mold it to your benefit and bend it to your advantage.

One can never know what unexpected events will land at our feet, what strange encounters we’ll experience, and whilst I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, things do happen. All of these moments define our future: whether we allow them to unfold incidentally or with our own intervention, the best course of action simply seems to be going with the flow.