By Amanda Nordqvist
After its successful release in 2016, Skörheten (Fragility) – a Swedish film about crippling anxiety – was granted several nominations and awards; based on director Ahang Bashi’s own issues with panic attacks, the film had an incredibly important task in portraying quite the difficult subject, and managed to do so expertly with the help of the intricately invested soundtrack, proficiently matching the desperation and delicacy of the film. The soundtrack, written by Jakob Lindhagen, stands just as tall on its own, and was recently re-mastered and released by 1631 Recordings, with the addition of three bonus tracks.
The eerie intro sets an immediate scene – an excellent teaser of what Lindhagen will build onto, of distinctive melodies with unsettlingly vivid personalities; the piano seems to hold a monologue, each terse note delivering an unwanted truth. After starting off sharp, defensive almost, the tracks quickly slip into deeper water, despair tingeing the tracks, Ett Mörker (A Darkness) paves way for Mottagningen, a track that explores further the confusion and unease, and builds to Varför Mår Jag Dåligt? (Why Do I Feel Unwell?) – a track that indisputably seems like a question unanswered, ending in a soft yielding to the unavoidable scenario that it provokes.
Läggas in? (Be hospitalized?) introduces some new elements, a sense of denial suddenly rushed into the relief of being taken seriously, and thrown back into not wanting to look, and be looked at, too closely. The album takes on a more experimental form for the next few tracks, until Lindhagen takes us back to the beginning with Samtal Med Roxy, a gentle reminder of where we’ve been before and will be again. He repeats and reinvents himself in my favorite track of the album, Jävla Ångest (Fucking Anxiety), and quickly moves on to the title track – an ode to the beginning, the eerie, hollow sound, vibrating on the verge of a breaking point – fragile but determined to push on, push harder, edges blurring, ears ringing – a track made grandiose by its blissful doom.
The bonus tracks add another layer to the album and seem to be a summary of the things Lindhagen hadn’t had the chance to express previously, and though an abrupt ending to an otherwise slow, graceful album, they showcase a side to the musician only briefly explored. Skörheten is an incredibly important soundtrack to an equally important film, and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to release an extended version of the album. Even with tracks screaming frailty, Lindhagen has a strength to his sound that is awe inspiring, and his impeccable way of portraying the emotions relevant to the story is, frankly, chilling.