Marking ten years since the first self-titled release under the name Fågelle, Den Svenska Vreden (Medication Time Records), is the latest album by Swede Klara Andersson and collaborator Henryk Lipp.
Currently residing in Berlin, the album was recorded between the German capital, Gothenburg, Majorna, and Neukölln from 2019 – 2022. Translated as “The Swedish rage,” Den Svenska Vreden is a very gentle and quiet type of rage. At times also almost euphoric — in a kind of ‘the dawn breaking through after a night of torment’ kind of way — this is a soft and subtle, at times dissonant, Nordic electronic-folk record delivered with a lightness of touch.
Perhaps, depending on taste, that lightness of touch might be a bit too much. While there are plenty of instrumental details to be picked out from one track to the next — the piano, the vocal layers, the varied electronic tones — Andersson’s vocals are fairly uniform in their delivery.
It’s not an unpleasant delivery by any measure, but after forty-five minutes plus of fragile, hushed, melancholic Swedish pixie you may find yourself yearning a little for some of that gut-punch viscera you might get from a Jarboe or a Lingua Ignota — if the latter was driven by Nordic folk rather than baroque classical influences.
Still, is it really fair to make comparisons to artists that may not have been any influence in the first place? The tone of the album, and partly from the vocal style is more comparable to Fever Ray or maybe even Bjork in places — though for sure at their most understated.
Highlights on the album come via ‘Slaver’ with its William Orbit style electronic pluses and something of a hint at Madonna’s ‘Frozen’ with one of the vocal motifs of the track. There’s a certain intriguing mystery in the tones and the way the track unfolds.
‘Min yttersta punkt’ is another standout. The track slowly builds with urgent intensity and a neat burst of modulated (pitch-shifted?) vocals that pop in and out later in the track — these are the kinds of subtle instrumental/ production quirks that make the album more engaging.
Elsewhere there are not really any missteps, but over the course of the album, the gentle, understated delivery of fragile vocals and tasteful, minimal electronic/ piano backing just lacks a bit of punch to really penetrate into the mind and gut.
Playing in the background it’s a perfectly enjoyable ambiance — occasionally including some noisy dissonance, but for the most part slightly melancholic, soothing tones that would fit either a silent morning, watching the dawn with the smoking embers of a house fire behind, or drifting to sleep, calm and exhausted after a day of rage and pain.
In the end, it’s hard to cancel out my own personal preferences. I crave a little more viscera and physicality. Still, the lightness of touch and subtlety of this record cannot be overlooked. If you warm to delicate, slightly sad, faintly dissonant electronic folk, bump this rating up by one
Buy the album here:
7 / 10