Mikael Åkerfeldt – Clark: A Dramatic Score by Mikael Åkerfeldt from the Netflix Series

Posted: 11 September 2022 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Christopher Nosnibor

Sometime during lockdown – which one, I can’t remember exactly, but likely the first, where here in England what initially looked like being a couple of weeks, ended up being more like a lifetime. After the lockdown announced on 23 March 2020 was extended on 16 April for ‘at least three weeks’ and in fact running into June, the fear surrounding the lifting of restrictions saw references to Stockholm Syndrome circulating with increasing frequency in the media.

Described as ‘a psychological response’ which occurs when hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors or abusers, and the victim may come to sympathize with their captors, and

may even begin to feel as if they share common goals and causes.

The name originates from a failed bank robbery staged in Stockholm in 1973, where Jan-Erik Olsson, and his charismatic accomplice Clark Olofsson held four employees as hostages, remaining captive for six days in one of the bank’s vaults, and when the hostages were released, none of them would testify against either captor in court; instead, they began raising money for their defence.

While the syndrome is disputed, the concept is something of a source of fascination. Personally, I had never been one of those who found themselves ‘loving lockdown life’, but found myself apprehensive about the easing of lockdown: what would be the ‘right’ way to behave in public, how would things ‘work’? I didn’t need to worry about pub and gig etiquette for a while, but was more fearful of other people than I was of Covid – because people are unpredictable, and after being cooped up for so long, who knows how many might have lost it?

Swedish Netflix mini-series Clark is the story of Clark Olofsson, and while it’s won awards, I found its stylised and flippant comedy-drama approach to be pretty ‘meh’. There’s vague amusement to be had, but ultimately – and for obvious reasons – presents Olofsson as ‘cool’, a cheeky bad boy out for But then, just because it’s not what I would have wanted it to be doesn’t mean it’s no good, it’s just not my bag.

While there are some bold intercuts of ‘proper’ songs featured, it’s not a series where you find yourself really paying attention to the soundtrack for the majority of the time. Listening to the soundtrack independent of the series, it’s a mystery as to why this is.

Of course, much of the interest in the soundtrack will be the fact that it was scored by Mikael Åkerfeldt of progressive metal legends Opeth – and as much as this score is overtly cinematic, it draws equally on progressive rock, funk, laid-back jazz, and 70s cop shows. The last nine of the thirty-four tracks feature vocals, and this portion of the album feels separate again, and may have worked as a separate release or bonus CD or something, as it’s quite a leap. Hell, ‘Måndag I Stockholm’ goes full Sabbath. Incongruous is an understatement and it’s hard to know what to make of it all. Then again… why not?

AA

Varied, engaging and evocative, it’s imaginative and listenable and entertaining – and a lot less frustrating than the series itself.

 MikaelAkerfeld_Clark_LP_Gatefold.indd

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