Reason #86 Why we Love Amazing Radio


circular disc with gray border containing the text: played on amazingradio

Who says video killed the radio star anyway? We think radio is just as vibrant as ever, especially thanks to all the fantastic stations available on internet radio stations. In fact, you can now hear Possimiste’s Wanderer featured on Simon Raymonde’s Iceland special from November 4 on Amazing Radio. Take a look here and enjoy not just Possimiste but a whole playlist of other great artists including One Little Indian, Lay Low, Dead Skeletons and more. But if you really only want to listen to Possimiste, then you might like to know that it plays right around the 1:02:00 mark. Except, don’t do that, because there really is a lot of good stuff on that program.

So a huge thank you to the great Simon Raymonde for supporting one of our favorite artists. An artist we believe in so much that we released the record. How’s that for a vote of confidence? Which reminds me, we still have some copies of the Possimiste record left. You can buy one here.

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Wintergatan – wherein Kate continues her obsession with Swedish electro-pop chamber, accordion, and theremin

Wintergatan

Toy piano, accordion, glockenspiel, theremin, traktofon, synths and more synths… These are the things dreams are made of, my friends.

If you’ve been following The Indie Handbook over the past few years, you know that often, my role here ends up being the Swedish ambassador of sorts. It’s not that I think we don’t cover Sweden enough, it’s just that there is so much great music coming out of Scandinavia right now.  And when I talk about Sweden, it usually is somehow related to this guy, Martin Molin.

MartinYou may know Martin as part of the brilliant band Detektivbyrån, that I covered way back in 2010, or you may know him from that lovely remix of Those Dancing Days that I mentioned last year. At any rate, you can’t have missed him and his signature tinny toy piano, theremin, and glockenspiel sounds, or my undying devotion for it all. Blame it all on my weakness for a good accordion part if you like, though you must admit that it is a tragically underrated instrument. Or blame my obsession with his particular alt chamber sounds, mixing low-fi percussion instruments (scissors and typewriters anyone?) with auto-tuned theremin and old-school style game music melody lines. But either way, you do have to admit that it’s fascinating, fresh, and always perfect.

So, when I received an email from Martin a few months ago talking about a new project he was starting up with a few fellow musicians, alternative instrument devotees and electronic instrument geeks, I could hardly contain my excitement. Actually, to be honest, I did not contain my excitement at all. Not even a little. I just danced it out for a while and then played back through my entire Detektivbyrån collection to prepare myself.

His new project is called Wintergatan and they have just released their first full-length album, full of accordion, scissor snaps, dreamy waltzes, magical synth melodies, and a lot of new sounds as well. Four space-suited musicians choreograph pieces with more instruments than you can imagine, creating both an aural masterpiece and a visually fascinating performance.

WintergatanPerformanceThe album is nine tracks long, all available to stream for free on their media page, and a truly rewarding listen. If you know Martin’s previous work, you will definitely hear a lot of familiar sounds. There are the waltzes, the accordion hum, and the theremin, but there are a lot of new things as well. Tracks like “All is Well” bring in a much more dance sound, albeit played out primarily on bells, and “Västenberg” features a harp melody and much more dreamy, atmospheric opening than I have heard before, though it leads straight into a driving accordion and vibes section, reminiscent of “Honky tonk of Wermland” from Detektivbyrån’s Wermland album. However, the most surprising track is the last, a 14 minute long kaleidoscopic piece called “Paradis.” It ends the album on a perfect note, and marks a clear contrast from Martin’s previous work with Detektivbyrån. Hammered dulcimer and harp weave together into a unique mix over a synthesized bass as the originally pentatonic melody morphs into a full, complex mix of sounds – piano, synths, dulcimer, drum kit, and so much more. It’s more aurally complex, more mature, and even more delightful.

As you can probably tell by this point, this album is not really like anything else. Though I compare it a bit to Detektivbyrån, in truth, I only do that because it’s the closest relative I can find. If you are looking for something approachable on the surface, but complex enough to listen to again and again, this is it. The instrument combinations alone can keep a person occupied for days. But don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at these two music videos they have posted. You’ll even get small behind the scenes peaks at their instruments and recording techniques at the end of each.

Sommarfaågel:

Starmachine 2000:

And if you haven’t yet, head over to their website where you can stream the entire album and let Wintergatan take you for the space ride of your life.

Farewell Detektivbyrån, Hello Martin

You might remember that post about a year ago when I raved on about my new obsession. If you don’t, it’s okay. The post is still up and it is a fast and worthwhile read. I had just been caught up in Detektivbyrån fever, which is a remarkably pleasant sort of fever, though it did result in me buying an old accordion on eBay and inadvertently serenading my neighbors during the summer when all the windows were open.

Yes, it was love – pure, sweet, and beautiful. But like most summer loves, it eventually had to end. The Detektivbyrån brothers, Martin and Anders, announced that they were disbanding and I promptly went into mourning. I was left with a big, gaping, Detektivbyrån-shaped void, which I, in classic ex-stalking fashion, attempted to fill by listening to their albums repeatedly and checking their website every few minutes hoping to find an announcement saying, “just kidding, kids!” No such luck along those lines, but I did find some other pretty interesting things along the way.

First of all, this amazing mix crossed my path at the perfect time and brought me out of my Detektivbyrån slump. It was the perfect transition from my old Swedish obsession to my new. (I love you, Those Dancing Days!) They have been lighting up the Indie Handbook lately, and are so fresh and cheeky. Have a look:

Do I need to remind you to read Eric’s post on “I’ll Be Yours” and “Fuckarias“, if you haven’t already? I hope not. You won’t be disappointed.

Then, I started to follow what Martin Molin, former half of Detektivbyrån, was up to. Apparently not one to slow down, and quite the Renaissance man, he now has his own production company and studio in his home in Göteborg, Sweden, and is working for some pretty interesting groups.

He has produced a lovely little single, Alibi, for Winding Stairs, a cool, soft, synthy, alt pop duo, also from Göteborg. You can hear it on their myspace page. The story goes that they met in a coffee shop and ended up in a recording project together, which is proof that all those hours Eric and I have spent in various coffee shops has not been wasted at all. I will just start thinking about it as a musician’s more delicious version of a social networking website.

Martin is also playing with Maud Lindström & Nåt För Alla these days, a band that sings on all things love, sex, culture, and power and leads some pretty cool creative workshops for schools and artists on living and working as a freelance musician. Was that an accordion I heard in “Vacker vid vatten?” Martin, you are the best.

So in the end, it all worked out. Though my dream of seeing Detektivbyrån tour in the States will now never come true, I do have other things to look forward to. Martin is not going anywhere and Those Dancing Days are certainly going to keep me dancing through mine. Plus, I think I may have found the perfect venue for realizing Eric’s dream to put together a band mash-up recording project a la In a Cabin With. Check out those studio pictures on Martin’s website! He even has a kitchen!