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Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words: 'Lost in Reflections' an attempt to deal with Ghosts

img  Tobias

„There are obvious differences, but I think they are only superficial“, he remarks when I ask him about the reasons for the drastic change of course between his pure Drone album „A Line_ Align“  for Belgium imprint Mystery Sea and his latest material, „The reason for creating "A Line: Align" and "Lost In Reflections" are basically the same: An attempt at dealing with the ghosts, and more specifically they were created under similar circumstances. I can't really answer why "Lost In Reflection" turned out so musical, just as little as I can explain why "A Line: Align" turned out like it did.“ Outer form, then, is subordinated to expressing underlying feelings, which percolate through Ekelund's mind in continually new forms and shapes. The contrast between aforementioned records is indeed striking. „Lost in Reflections“ has its moment of dense texture collisions, but they are rather conclusions of melodic and harmonic action than the actual focal point of a particular piece. Instead, morbidly lyrical Guitar themes and amorphuous field recordings of quasi-organic quality are at the fore – especially so on 19-minute finale „Himmelschreibende Herzen“, a fearful, threedimensional soundscape of electric buzzes, ghostly geyser activity and threatening atonal feedback harmonics, which suddenly turns into a moving Requiem as an anthemic string motive comes welling up half-way and is triumphantly repeated until the end. Opener „This Room seems empty without You“, meanwhile, gradually picks up pace, as its hypnotic leitmotif is slowly supported by a subcutaneous Bass Drum.

Of course, it would be easy to attribute every dark note on the album to the Borderline issue. That, however, would ignore how much tenderness there is to be found on „Lost in Reflections“ as well. Especially in the first tracks, the pulse of the music is gentle and trance-inducing, at times even consoling and comforting. Only as it draws towards a conclusion do the ghouls rear their ugly heads. It would therefore be safer to say that Ekelund's message is an emotional rather than an intellectual or scientific one: „All my creative endeavors, be it musically, visually or lyrical, are attempts at dealing with the ongoing battle inside my head but I often ask myself if it's possible for instrumental music to actually "be" about anything, especially in a forthright way“, he agrees, „I suppose that that it doesn't deal with Borderline Disorder openly. It's just a series of songs that try to capture certain feelings of isolation, loneliness and facelessness. The intriguing part is that a certain set of symbols appeared in this work, metaphors that somehow releated to borderline, even though this happened before I was diagnosed.“

Finishing the album was difficult, as the disease came in waves and because Ekelund felt disappointed by Swedish mental health care, whose only help consisted in prescribing ever more pills. But the hardest part of all was evaluating whether what he had created was worthy of an official release. The pondering eventually made things worse, as a collection of songs turned into a „dark, formless figure that was constantly lurking in the shadows“. Finally, he came to a seemingly paradoxical conclusion: The only way to rid himself of the dilemma was to publish it under all circumstances. The rest was history: When local labels Fang Bomb and Ideal heard the demo, they were outright ecstatic, considering the compositions the „cultural event of the year, at least for those with a keen interest in dark drone-pop perfection“. Even their enthusiasm and the critical reception haven't yet turned Ekelund into a happier person, however, as he admits: „I find it difficult to grasp that anyone even cares about what I do, but obviously some people do. I don't really concern myself much with how people perceive my work. Of course it fills me with a certain sense of joy that someone can take something I created for personal reasons, and make it part of their lives. I also look at it like a form of exorcism, a vain attempt at moving the demons from my body to this object, letting it go and thereby freeing myself.“ How effective has it been? „It hasn't worked so far“, he says, „but I haven't given up yet.“

„Lost in Reflections“ is still available as a Vinyl version. A CD release of the album on Killer Pimp is slated for March.

Homepage: Fang Bomb Records
Homepage: Ideal Records
Homepage: Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words
Homepage: Release the Bats Records
Homepage: When Skies are Grey Records

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