There are a few artists that have come along over the three years since this blog began. One of them is Jakob Lindhagen who has appeared on this site before with his “Paces” and “Skörheten” releases. His latest is a soundtrack to the award winning Swedish short film “Ingen Lyssnar” by Elin Övergaar. While not a stranger to film work with releases or soundtrack works such as “The Battle Of Parliament Square”, “Push It” and the aforementioned “Skörheten”, this new release, a brief four track EP that last under seven minutes in length, could be his most experimental yet.
“Instructed to compose “music that doesn’t sound like music”, composer Jakob Lindhagen utilized prepared pianos, tape loops at different speeds, string harmonics and analogue synthesizers for a score both in line and widely apart from his usual soft, modern classical expression, deliberately blurring the line between music and sound design.”
The fifteen minute film centres around a meeting about a new home for refugee children and two opposing views that are struggling to get heard. Basing the review purely of the music rather than using the film as I personally don’t speak Swedish (although I did check it out, as can you here), I can only go on what comes across in the pieces. One of the images that is conjured in my mind while listening is distance. To me I see a long tunnel with light at either and two people moving towards the light. As they get closing the intensity of the music is ramped up. This distance could possibly reflect the people and their two standpoints, while the intensity could be a motif for anxiety and an increase in blood pressure as a result of the emotions and frustrations involved.
The score is probably the most experimental and electroacoustic based of Lindhagen’s works with a much more minimal sound source and a more stark and at times slightly harrowing feeling. There is an otherworldly feeling in the pieces as much as it feels like a build up of emotions or a swirling vortex of feelings. In the film the noticeable thing is that the music features predominantly at the beginning and the end of the movie, almost as if it is helping to establish the feel of emotions and the start and resultant.
Two of the four pieces – “Intro/ Niklas” and “Karin” represent the two main characters within the film with “Niklas’s piece having the most tension, while “Karin” fuses a pointillistic feel with one that seems to capture the essence of breath and stress as well as a pounding heart beat. A familiar motif is used in “Mötet” aka “The Meeting” which subtly explores the tension and frustration within the situation. The final piece “Slutet/ Dörren” aka “The End / Door” is the culmination of the events with both a swirling and closing down sound combining with a more insistent almost beat like sound. You can interpret this in many ways, as if it is a realisation of what has happened, some form of closure or a case of conflicting emotions.
While not understanding any of the dialogue and what is being said to escalate tensions and the situation, Lindhagen’s soundtrack work never becomes obvious with it’s intent. This is a good thing. You want music to support the visuals when it comes to a score, not just merely re-tell what you are seeing on the screen, nor to be completely obvious either. Indeed if you knew nothing about the premise of the film you could come up with your own ideas. Moving away from his more Modern Classical persuasions is a wise choice making the short score more in tune with the likes of Mica Levi, Colin Stetson or Ben Frost with it’s approach and feel.
“Ingen Lyssar” is available digitally.