Although a so-called ‘best of’ compilation seems better suited for a band or artist that has already achieved some degree of commercial success, ‘One Trail To Heaven’ is a damned good argument for newcomers to check out any of In The Labyrinth’s three albums. Led and arranged by Swedish composer Peter Lindahl, the music takes the listener on a winding journey across Europe and Asia, often fusing different cultures and styles of folk into a beautiful mix. As ambiently-inclined as Lindahl’s work tends to be here, there is a wealth of diverse sound and beauty to soak up on ‘One Trail To Heaven’.
In The Labyrinth is another one of those artists I have come across that seems painfully underexposed. Comparisons could be drawn with Australian innovators Dead Can Dance; this music envelops several cultures, from Northern European folk to Indian sitar- exploration and Far East ambiance. What makes the sound so convincing is in the execution. The instrumentation is authentic and admirably performed, and the production crisp and professional. Occasionally, Lindahl will opt for a more conventionally Western singer-songwriter approach (as is the case with the fantasy-glazed ‘Muscarin Madness’) but the majority of this compilation is geared towards showcasing his more ambitious orchestrations. Hammered dulcimers, ‘Chinese flute’, and a myriad of Arabic percussion are some of the instruments heard here.
For a compilation, ‘One Trail To Heaven’ enjoys a healthy sense of flow, often to the point where I could be fooled into thinking this is a regular studio album. On top of a handful of preferred picks from the three albums, there is also unreleased material, exclusive to this compilation. For me, ‘Moorish Rhapsody’ is the highlight of this ordeal; a Celtic-Arabic folk fusion with warm, Beatles-like vocals not dissimilar from Arjen ‘Ayreon’ Lucassen’s voice. The melancholic ‘Over The Wall’ is another favourite of mine, whisking the listener away to Nepal and a spiritual quest to Kathmandu.
Peter Lindahl’s work is vast and deserves a much greater audience than he has thus far been given. Although this is technically not a studio album, ‘One Trail To Heaven’ makes for a perfect introduction to the music of In The Labyrinth. Within the course of an hour, many cultures are explored, and each leaves a gorgeous impression. The diversity does make for a somewhat scattered listen, but as compilations go, this is gold.
1. Lost In The Woods (5:05)
2. Escape From Canaan (4:10)
3. Moorish Rhapsody (4:15)
4. The Garden Of Mysteries (3:02)
5. Monsoon (2:50)
6. Over The Wall (3:58)
7. Karakoram Waltz (5:10)
8. Muscarin Madness (4:50)
9. Deep Saffron (5:19)
10. Night Of The Baskerville Killer (6:34)
11. The Endless City (3:13)
12. Cities (5:40)
13. Cloudburst (5:23)
* Peter Lindahl – vocals, mellotron, guitars, bass, saz, zither, mandolin, flute, synthesizer, piano, melodion, viola da gamba, darbouka, daf, percussion, recorders, effects, programming
* Håkan Almkvist – sitar, e-bow guitar, electric bass, tabla
* Helena Selander – background vocals (1,5,9,12,13)
* Mikael Gejel – sampler (4), flute (3)
* Robert Eklund – archlute (12)
* Helena Jacobssen – background vocals (3)
* Stefan Andersson – electric bass, guitar & slide guitar (11)
* Kristina Fuentes – background vocals (8)
* Karin Langhard-Gejel – background vocals (5)
* Ulf Hansson – darbouka (4)
* Marcos Chagallo – violin (12)