On September 22nd this year, Jakob Lindhagen – known for composing the breathtaking film score for Skörheten, among other things – released his solo album Paces, an intriguing piece of art, centered on the piano while incorporating white noise from faltering microphones and birdsong from early morning recordings. We are already familiar with Lindhagen’s phenomenal talent in portraying and displaying emotion, and his more experimental side, only briefly explored in the expanded version of the Skörheten soundtrack, is certainly showcased in this solo release.
With no time to waste, Paces starts off with Kenopsia, establishing a sense of melancholy ringing true to the meaning of its name – the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people, now abandoned. The ringing noise, in waves of increased intensity, has an almost trance-inducing effect; the maddening sound has you trapped, with small crashes at times jolting you from the lonely room to which you’ve been condemned. All the while, the soft narration of the piano tells the story of your destiny, a welcome contrast to the harsh, torturous buzzing, locking you in place.
In Shelter, a different kind of loneliness takes form – the noises seem to be of a busy street with too many impressions, all smudged together, and you in the middle, disconnected. There’s ringing, spinning, but one steady point in the cautious piano, the only sane thought in an ocean of turmoil. The album moves towards a more blissful spirit, The Tipping Point sounding, with its gorgeous harmonies and zealous strings, like a soft-spoken person suddenly speaking with passion burning beneath every word, and I need only to sit back and listen, in awe.
In The Machinery shows the epitome of the homely sound Lindhagen has mastered. The fascinating noises of electronic buzzing and clicking create an intimacy so palpable I can practically touch it, and it engulfs me in the warmth of home and family; with the beautiful build-up of the tireless strings and inspiring piano, this track is positively exploding with eternal hope. The hope is carried further with Overcoming, starting off as a reflective, slow-burning track, suddenly transitioning into a joyous, youthful folk-melody.
Paces certainly lives up to its name – the atmosphere of the album changes yet again, as Afterwards tells a mournful, ghostly story, as haunting as it is beautiful and grand. As previously, it seems Lindhagen releases all of the energy he has left into the very last track – S, 47 is a deeply emotive, expertly told story that sticks out from the rest; like an afterthought that turned into a paradigm of its own, this track is like a whole separate entity, patiently waiting for you to reach it, and listen. It takes its time, all the while knowing you will be engulfed in its flawless rhetoric, and it proves the perfect ending to Lindhagen’s stunning album.