Fågelle – Den svenska vreden

Posted: 22 January 2023 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Medication Time Records – 27th January 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

My first encounter with Fågelle was supporting Big | Brave in Leeds last spring. Despite suffering some technical difficulties and being on before a band so mighty that I still haven’t quite got over the experience, I wrote that ‘Fågelle proves to be an absolute revelation’.

The release of her new album, album Den svenska vreden (The Swedish rage), affords proper time to digest, and to reflect on this. And live, I remarked on her understated presence and the variety, shifting from quiet restraint to some heavy noise, and with experimental elements. Those are all present here, to forge what the press release set out as ‘collage-like soundscapes made with twisted field recordings, mobile memories, digital trash, dark electronics, and howling choirs while moving between harmony and noise.’

For the most part, Den svenska vreden is subtle. There are soft, electronic washes and the slightest of glitches ripple and stutter almost subliminally. The layers rub against one another to create tensions, but still, the overall mood of the album is comparatively light, particularly given the album’s title and her explanation of the album’s context and contents.

“I was so angry and had been for years.” explains Fågelle, “A kind of adult rage that was new to me. Feeling forced to accept and stay in circumstances making me miserable. To patiently suffer now for a better future. But also, a subdued Swedishness that doesn’t hold space for flaring, tearing, wallowing rage but rather pushes it down from the surface and inwards. Question is, where does the rage go, and which forms does it take? That became a starting point for the record where I kept exploring my personal boiling points, pressures and releases, where to hold my rage, in words and in the body, as a swede and as a woman.”

She continues, “Swedish social norms value the level headed and emotionally subdued. There is a pressure put especially hard on women to function like social glue and to always be consensus oriented. It’s a pressure to practice self control, a self choking of non-agreeable ideas and feelings. Rage being one of them.”

As such, one senses the rage is very much tempered by the Swedish restraint. And that’s something that there is a strong sense of, listening to Den svenska vreden – that there is in fact far more beneath the surface, simmering.

‘Slavar’ is dark and tense, tentative, mysterious. In contrast, ‘Aldrig mera här’ is almost minimal pop in its flavour. As a prelude to the soft folk reflections of ‘Fåglar’, which in parts invites comparisons to Suzanne Vega while in others goes quite wonderfully weird, ‘Tredje långgatan tretton’ begins as hushed ambience and builds into dramatic strings. It’s on the title track that the rage burst forth, manifesting as two minutes of mangled noise, and the album culminates in a thumping burst of beat-driven electronica which I wouldn’t go so far as to describe as dance, but it’s certainly got enough groove to get down to.

There’s a sense that Den svenska vreden reflects its creator: complex, inscrutable, enigmatic, and multi-faceted.

AA

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