Welcome back to the quiet, ambient world that seems to dog me where ever I go. But the ambience does calm, this world is suffused with amelodic and breathy sounds from Scandinavian lands. This album finds its inspiration in the photos of Swedish geographer Fredrik Enquist. The cover art comes from a 1910 picture Enquist took somewhere in the distant north; the sound comes from a guy named John Roger Olsson, best known for his European melancholic pop stylings, and that’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one.
Six tracks populate this distant land of ice and frozen melancholy; title track “Rabot” swells and murmurs as if attempting to find a path out of a slushy ocean just about to undergo that phase transition from fluid to solid. We hear no break between tracks; this is an audio environment experiment not a pop album. “Enquist Photo 1910” changes the pace slightly as if a gentle wind shifted the ice’s drift. The names of distant island float buy- Sylarnea, Tarfala, Sarek. A cello slides an endless note, other strings stay hidden in the ice fog. No bird is heard, no icebergs calve, not even in the track called “Calving.” Rather, the strings move tad faster, the sound menaces more, but all change remains at a safe distance. Winter has arrived, here is your personal sound track to get you from the last solstice holiday to the spring of May. Bundle up.