The new branch of the nexsound imperium NSPQP stands for nexsound-popmusic. I does not say so anywhere, but I am sure. Actually, it says that it stands for pickup, but I dont know what that means and my version makes more sense anyway. Because the first two releases on this new segment of the label (this one here and the duo collaboration of Saralunden with label co-leader Andrey Kiritchenko) are definite steps away from the exciting noise-avantgarde / free improvisation / electroacoustic stuff you were used to. This 5-song EP starts with harmonious, almost jazzy singing over acoustic guitar and has just what I said before: songs. With chorus, structure and melodies. Nexsound itself calls it more accessible and I think they do not mean in terms of distribution, but in listening. And those are also worth listening to. And to listen to deeply, with concentration and mind open, just like you were used to before.

This threesome collaboration has Saralunden and Kyrree Bjцrkas as singers and songwriters and Andreas Mjцs adding production and electronics. Now, before you form an opinion, forget all you know about electronic songwriter music, all of the Roisin Murphy-danceshit and also all of the Beth Gibbons-patheticness, and most of all all of the polished to death Kosheen-overproduction. Think of the most intimate experience you had in the last three months (or three years, whatever suits your lifestyle) and then try to remember how those long, late night conversations went, when the music had faded out, the bottle was almost empty and you knew that even the days and weeks ahead could not and would not destroy the memory of the feeling you had. This memory of that feeling is what makes up the main mystery of these songs.

Maybe the fact that Bjцrkas and Saralunden were at one time a love couple that was seperated by the distances that part Stockholm and Oslo plays an important role in the melancholy and nostalgia seeping through these songs and low, sad melodies. To me it feels as if you can hear the cold wind of the Scandinavian plains sweeping through the songs. Bjцrkas sings in a smoky bass while Saralunden completes him with a mysterious higher voice that is soft and strong at the same time. Each of the five songs seems to have its own inner enigma to be solved. Only the last on, Murder, falls out of the structure. While the first four songs have them singing every line together over various kinds of percussionless music, the last one not only peruses a distinctive drumbeat but also has them duetting properly, with a kind of call-response scheme. Like a postmodern Lee & Nancy electronica murder ballad.

There is always a certain strange and dark sense field lurking underneath the songs. That is a give away right from the beginning, when the easy listening doobie-doobie turns not into Sinatras doobie-doobie-doo but into dubious. It is the kind of atmosphere that made David Lynchs Twin Peaks so fascinating and irrestistible in the first few shows. The songs themselves also dib into these kinds of personal obsessions. I lie naked in my bet / imagine you are there only to go on stating that I couldnt help myself / when I first saw you / I had this instant urge to make you mine (from Naked in my bed) – to hear words such as these from a female / male voice combination in this tonality gives the whole song a fascinating twist. And the other songs all hide one or two of these moments of epiphany or dark enigma in them.

A definite favorite for 2007.



Sara Lundn r produktiv. I samband med slppet av 'There was No End' - ett 'indie-tronica-projekt' skapat tillsammans med Andrey Kiritchenko - kommer ett annat samarbete under namnet SaraLunden.Bjrks.Mjs.

'Dubious' r drygt femton minuter aningens svrbestmd musik. Lttjazz med electronica-anknytning och suggestiva sm drag av trip hop. Nrmaste referensen jag greppar efter r faktiskt 'Svrt att sga nej', den gamla duetten mellan Bo Kasper och Lisa Ekdahl frn slutet av nittiotalet, frnsett de elektroniska inslagen: Unison sng av kvinna och man, ttt intill med luftigt komp. Inget som tippar vrlden ver nda, men avgjort ganska trevligt.

Frfattare: Sara Axelsson


Musique Machine

Dubious is the second EP on Ukranian imprint Nexsound by Sara Lundn, but with different companions. This time Kyrre Bjrks (Det r jag som r dden) and Andreas Mjs (or Mjs, in Norway, Jaga Jazzist) join in to put Lundn's vocals in a different context.

Vocalists Bjrks and Lundn met in Riga at an exhibition and later in Oslo she fell in love with Kyrre's voice when he was singing It's A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. There they decided their voices should work nicely together, and they do indeed. They sometimes even sound like a Scandinavian version of Serge Gainsbourg, specifically the EP's closing track Murder takes the form of some dark "Gnsbrg" duet. Not so much the southern heat of 'I'm so horny I can't sing', but a more northern, icy approach that's in no way less exciting to listen to. Their voices are paired with hush and subtle electronics and acoustic sounds by all three, where Mjs's contribution is instantly recognizable if you are familiar with the music found on imprints like Smalltown Supersound and Rune Grammofon.

Nexsound PQP is the sublabel on which more palatable music than Nexsound normally releases and Dubious shows indeed a very listenerfriendly approach. The tastefully arranged dreamy pop brings to mind excellent bands like Pram, Broadcast and the British duo Mono (who made one great album called Formica Blues and are not to be confused with that postrock band). Less friendly is the length of a mere 15 minutes which leaves me aching for more!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Martijn Busink