Stadsbilder (”City Images”) is the first album between Swedish musicians Jakob Lindhagen and Dag Rosenqvist who are each well established in the contemporary classical and experimental music scenes as both solo artists and frequent collaborators. Lindhagen is an award-winning film composer with several solo albums to his name and can be found frequently performing and touring with Sofia Nystrand aka Vargkvint. Rosenqvist is a prolific musician and sound artist involved in over 50 releases over the past decade & a half as well composing for film and dance performances. Perhaps best known among his many collaborations is From the Mouth of the Sun, a duo with cellist Aaron Martin, and fans of that particular project will find much to love about this beautifully constructed new record.
Lindhagen and Rosenqvist paint the musical cityscapes of Stadsbilder from a rich sonic palette that includes acoustic & electric pianos, vintage synthesizers, found sounds, harmonium, banjo, and saxophone along with strategically placed cello parts performed by Sebastian Selke. Together they create a compelling mixture of stately piano lines memorable melodies with densely layered atmospheres that roll in like fog off the harbor and evaporate into a shadowy mist. As song titles such as “Den Första Staden” (the first city), “Under Hamnen” (under the harbor), “Gasljus” (gaslight), “Gamla Drömmars Stad” (old city of dreams) or “Spökstad” (ghost town) suggest, these cityscapes are deserted if not desolate and haunted.
The album takes on yet another dimension with the elaborate bespoke packaging designed by the Colin Herrick which juxtaposes landscapes of the American Southwest with art deco interiors and steampunk aesthetics to create surreal images that are both bright and oddly soothing. On paper it might sound like an odd fit with the aforementioned description of the album, but it works exceptionally well to create an immersive sense of being out of time in a strange and vivid new world with its own cleverly conceived soundtrack. Visually and sonically, there is no denying that Stadsbilder is a very rich offering indeed.
Stadsbilder was mastered by Taylor Deupree and is available now from Time Released Sound digitally and in two limited vinyl editions both of which come with 180gm clear vinyl. The standard vinyl is released in an edition of 150 copies that comes with a full color printed jacket. The deluxe edition is only 50 copies and comes with a heavyweight, recycled kraftboard jacket, a cover featuring a mounted handmade collage made using elements from vintage books, and a mounted full page from a book of 1930s interiors on the back (see links below for full details).