Swedish singer-songwriter and film/music critic Anders Nilsson doesn’t place much faith in convention or in the confined expectations of genre characterizations. His work as Skogebrandt is free from such cares, free of the limitations of traditional ideas of pop, folk and electronic music. By exploring a seamless blend of various influences and tonalities, he fashions a tenacious and awe-inspiring sound which reaches deep down into the crevasses of our hearts in an effort to find that elusive spark, that “thing” which keeps us all moving through the turbulence of our individual troubles. And somewhere in the middle of the ecstaticism of a neon-lit cityscape and the remote beauty of the countryside, he discovers the balance between movement and stillness that allows his music to evoke a fluorescent pop euphoria as well as a gentle folk wistfulness.
Nilsson will be releasing his self-titled debut EP later this year. All the songs on the EP were produced, recorded and mixed by Nilsson, giving the collection a unified, though by no means homogeneous, appearance. By carefully deconstructing the sounds which have inspired him throughout his life, he is able to adapt those same pulled-apart noises into a glorious and cinematic pop landscape, electrifying and compelling in their persuasive natures.
On his latest single, “Breaking Me Better,” he bends a reflective and gorgeous piano line into the depths of some truly haunting vocal melodies. Operatic in its way but also almost unbearably intimate, the song sounds like Sigur Ros fronted by Sam Beam from Iron & Wine. The delicate, though determined, narrative doesn’t get lost when the track ramps up the percussive elements nor does its bombastic perspective suffer from its attention to introspective detail.
This is a track delivered not to the heart but to the entire nervous system, affecting the body is unpredictable and beautiful ways. When that rhythmic crest is reached, the emotion is almost overwhelming, guided as it is by the sure motions and earnest creativity of Nilsson. Every moment seems emblazoned with a zeal for connection, for acknowledgement. And as the music submerges you in its bottomless reaches, you begin to perceive the fascinating layers which comprise its complicated structure. Self-awareness and emotional chaos ebb and flow until they become a single wave of consequence and realization. It’s a thing of beauty, and Nilsson makes it look all too easy.