A Guide to Sweden’s Electronic Music Scene
In September two of Sweden’s most integral electronic musicians, Ulf Eriksson and Sebastian Mullaert, joined forces on a compilation called The Dance that was inspired by the mixed live and DJ sets they perform together. As the boss of Kontra-Musik, Eriksson has released killer tunes from many local talents, including TM404 (who recently received nods from the organizers of both Unsound and UH festivals), Frak and Porn Sword Tobacco. Mullaert was a member of the duo Minilogue and recently launched a vinyl label called Wa Wu We, which we featured in a premiere a few months ago. Thus, they’re the perfect subjects to give an overview of the electronic music landscape in their home country, which you can find below.
Sebastian Mullaert: Some people do what they do in a pure and simple way without the obstacles of fame and games. To me, Johanna Knutsson is a perfect example of such an artist. I sense her love for music and dance as well as her love to share it with other people. She played at our release party for The Dance, and it was THE DANCE!!! Listen to her own productions on her label UFO Stations, which she runs with another great Swedish artist, Hans Berg.
Ulf Eriksson: It’s impossible to talk about Swedish electronic music without mentioning Frak. Still, they’re the very antithesis of what’s normally considered the Swedish or Nordic sound, which is very slick and immaculate. This group has been active for over 20 years and they still manage to renew themselves and make interesting, cool music.
Porn Sword Tobacco
Sebastian Mullaert: Henrik Jonsson’s music always touches me deeply and has for over 20 years. It started with his dubby Stress Assasin project, continued with his chilled tunes as Porn Sword Tobacco and with soulful and intimate house music under the aliases Gunnar Jonsson and Alter/Jonsson (his collaboration with Joel Alter), and lately with his joint project with Berlin’s SVN. I love Henrik’s music so much because he’s close to himself, and I feel that he has a very honest approach to his music. To pick one track to exemplify his genius is almost impossible, so I’ll just go for something that is quite new. ?
Ulf Eriksson: Klara Lewis‘s music is emotive but open-sourced, highly rhythmical but embracing. In short, she’s no doubt one of the most interesting Swedish artists right now, and it’s such a joy to see her getting booked by fine festivals all over the world. I saw her perform at the Intonal festival in Malmö last spring, and it was just great. Also, her debut album, Ett, released on the legendary label Editions Mego, is well worth a buy.
Sebastian Mullaert: Ulwhednar is a project by two groundbreaking Swedish artists: Abdulla Rashim and Varg. Together they go on sonic adventures, opening doors to the mysterious and deep. Listen to their albums on Rashim’s amazing Swedish label Northern Electronics, which also hosts a few other great local artists.
Ulf Eriksson: If you study the Kontra-Musik catalog, you’ll notice that this guy plays a major part in the label’s existence. Also, if you take a look at the track list on the Kontra-Musik mix CD, The Dance, five tracks involve Andreas. Why? Well, Andreas is for sure one of the cornerstones of Swedish electronic music and a world class producer, a true master of making old classic synths and drum machines sound fresh again.
Sebastian Mullaert: Axel Willner is another wonderful example of a Swedish artist with both a truly personal, genuine sound and a very unique approach to music. He mixes microsamples from pop music in a reel of ’90s ambient techno. Lately he has also contributed with a band performance under the name Hands, which brings his sound into a multi-instrumental realm.
Ulf Eriksson: Fishermen are dark, heavy, slow and old school with a bit of disco and funk added to the mix. The band has played a major part in highlighting Swedish electronic music the last few years, and we’re always craving more.
Sebastian Mullaert: I played my first Minilogue live set with Marcus at the same party where Patrick played his first DJ set. Since then we’ve met at various occasions over the years and lately a lot in the studio; Patrick is a genius with his modular system. We had an EP on Minus last year, and soon there’ll be another one on another label. Keep your eyes open for Patrick’s own amazing music and what we do together.
Wa Wu We
Ulf Eriksson: Sebastian Mullaert likes the Swedish woods. A lot. He also has a weakness for deep trance music. Wa Wu We combines the two, slows them down and adds some dub and a tiny bit of distortion to create the most perfect rave meditations.
Published October 26, 2015.