Track By Track: Ecovillage – Crescendo

5 Minute Read

Swedish producers Emil Holmström and Peter Wikström join together for a beautiful album on Lo Redcordings.

This Friday marks the release of a new album from Ecovillage, a record titled ‘Crescendo’ which is built of delicate, beautiful ambient textures and tones.

Recorded between 2019 and 2022 in Los Angeles and Umeå the record is influenced by Jazz and experimental Electronics and also features a number of collaborations and guest features from some big names including the likes of Jonas Knutsson, Jamael Dean, Joseph Shabason, Laraaji and more.

The pair describe the release as follows:


‘We always wanted to create something new and original, something that would challenge us during the recording and also evolve our listeners. We also tried to break away from the conventions and expectations of ambient music’.

The album is being released by longstanding, influential record label Lo Recordings and features ten tracks.

We invited them to guide us through the record:

That Place feat. Botany

The early sketch of this track was created in the  summer of 2020 and had some really positive, almost naive vibes to it. Then the track was completely re-created in December of 2021, only looping the main idea and adding completely new instrumentation to it, making it more ambivalent and psychedelic, taking the track to a totally new direction and dimension. Something was still missing and Peter had recently discovered Botany in December of 2021 via his new EP released that year. He then asked if Botany could add some ornamentation to the track and they went all in, adding vocals, harp, and bass which really took the track to a new level. This is the “set it off track” that is setting the tone on ‘Crescendo’ and hopefully it transports the listener to another dimension, or even to that place. You could say that we built a lot of the whole album’s sound around this track when it comes to the pure sonics. Botany introduced nubo to us and also gave a lot of feedback on the whole album, so Ecovillage are forever thankful for all the help from Botany on this album.

Floating feat. Brothertiger & Kenji Kihara

Ecovillage will never forget the moment Emil came up with the seed to ‘Floating’, a simple bassline and the most mesmerizing guitar chords. The sketch was created on the island Gotland in late summer/autumn of 2021. Emil almost literally went psychotic by over amazement of how beautiful the sketch sounded and called Peter telling him that he was completely overwhelmed about how it was turning out. He had to walk frantically back and forth in the middle of the night in a kind of hysteric walking meditation in order to stay sane and not lose his mind. Peter later added the drums; melody; synth; made the composition; and also got the idea that Brothertiger could add vocals on top of the track. When the track was 90 procent finished Kenji Kihara completed it with magical ambience and ornamentation.

Hollow Dream feat. Annie Barker & Joseph Shabason

In november 2019, Immediately after landing in Sweden after a mini-tour in Los Angeles and recording the beginnings of ‘Crescendo’ – and despite fatigue and jet lag – the band found an irresistible drive to start creating, even at the Airport in Stockholm. The result was a minimalist composition with piano and strings, capturing the essence of their newfound inspiration. Annie Baker’s voice then became the crowning touch, bringing the melody to life with her soulful interpretation, Shabasson contributed his unique saxophone style and sound to the track. After that we removed all piano and strings and instead built the track around the vocals and saxophone adding layers and layers of synths. A new version of the song was born, Annie is hoping for a release of the original version as well…which we will!

Ecovillage – Cr. Ludvig Cimbrelius

Around the Fire  feat. Nightlands

Peter will never forget the special moment in December of 2022, when he played it to one of his dearest friends around the fire laying on the ground. Mikael told Peter it was one of the best songs he had ever heard and that he knew from the bottom of his heart that this track will do wonders for the world. Mikael left us in January 2024, this song is for Mikael, may he rest in peace.

Corner of the world feat. Nat Birchall & Thore Pfeiffer

This is Emil’s favorite track on the album. Emil and Peter had a very special experience when they listened to the finished version right beside the lake after Peter had a physical collapse where he was hospitalized for three days and could not walk or see for three days in September 2022. The first reunion with Ecovillage after that they were listening to this track and will never forget it, “we were just in awe of being alive and this song was telling us a lot about the power of gratitude”. Ecovillage are also thankful for Thore Pfeiffer’s beautiful synth work on the track and Nat Birchalls otherworldly sax bliss.

Amazing  feat. nubo

This track was kind of a new start for us with a completely new studio set up, new hardware and DAW. We had so much fun during the summer of 2021, just experimenting with new styles and this track came out of those glory summer sessions of 2021. This track captures how we felt that everything was fresh and amazing around this time. We finished the track but, after many listens and a more nuanced way of looking at things in the autumn, something felt missing like it needed some kind of spark on top. We were in talks with Botany and he told us that we should work with nubo as he felt that our styles would mix very well, so he introduced us  – and what beautiful energy nubo delivered to the track. He added some beautiful synth arpeggios that really finished the track. We remember listening to the final version on a beautiful summer day on a hill and it just felt so amazing.

Ancient love feat. Jamael Dean, Nat Birchall & Sharananda

It was Carlos Nïno who introduced us to Jamael Dean. He mentioned him when we talked in Venice outside his studio. We were just leaving Los Angeles, and when we got out of the taxi, there stood Carlos who we met earlier on at the ‘Under the Tree’ event. Jamael Dean recorded the piano in New York on a magical winter’s day in December of 2020. The message of the song is to love each other, and the only way you can measure your spiritual health is by how much you love your fellow human, without conditions.

The Will of the One feat. Jonas Knutsson, Laraaji & Oceananda

It was in 2006 that I discovered Laraaji’s music, a true legend and one of the pioneers of ambient music, during a very difficult time in my life – without a doubt, that year was one of the worst. My love had suddenly left me and decided to move to another city; we lived in Umeå and she wanted to move to Malmö without me. I went through a total life crisis and began my spiritual search, as I had no other choice to survive and find meaning. It was the song ‘Meditation No. 1’ by Laraaji and Brian Eno that made me start meditating and diving inward to heal what needed to be healed. I am forever grateful to Laraaji for his always healing and uplifting sounds that have really helped me on this path. That eighteen years later I would get to release a song together with him is nothing short of a miracle and a dream come true. Forever thankful, probably the will of the one. Believe and follow your dreams, my friend.” – Peter

North Star  feat. Green-House & nubo

We are incredibly grateful for this song that has evolved through various phases as every other track on ‘Crescendo’. It is one of the oldest tracks from the album and has been worked on for two years, undergoing different sounds, variations with different emphasis and focus on various aspects that can be highlighted in different ways. The foundation that Olive Ardizoni sang sounded very different and was incredibly minimalist, with a very simple chord progression that we then expanded around. So grateful for how this song finally turned out.

Understanding feat. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson

The working title for this track was ‘Pale Blue Dot’. We started composing a string section for it and we had in mind to release it for a compilation that Jon Tye from Lo Recordings was compiling. The track has definitely helped us, and hopefully the listener, in the process of learning to let go – the more you let go of trying to understand, the more you understand. This track is the crescendo of the whole album, the final insight and sum of the knowledge gained on the journey. Another working title for the track was ‘The Palace of Understanding”. It feels like this song is one the most important songs in our catalogue. It really explains what we have tried to find or express since 2006. The more you try to understand, the less you understand – for each year we learn a tiny bit more about the process of letting go and forgiving ourselves and others, even though we do not understand at all. That Miguel Atwood-Ferguson was beyond kind enough to play violin on this track is even harder to understand as he is one of, if not THE greatest inspiration in our music. We are forever thankful and overwhelmed by all the gifts we received through the mysticism of sound that music is, that has the ability to open and connect hearts.