Sunday’s Best Pt. LIX

FLORA is Jonas Rönnberg and AnnaMelina’s outlet for their new synth-pop inspired dyad. Also known as Varg, Rönnberg is no stranger to breaking out of the confines of the techno his Northern Electronics label is renowned for. Teaming up with Yung Lean and a few other curveballs in Nordic Flora Series Pt. 3: Gore​-​Tex City, it was here that we first saw what symbiosis the pair could offer each other. After debuting their performance as FLORA at Berlin Atonal last year, Varg and AnnaMelina have been busy translating their natural on-stage chemistry from Kraftwerk into a beautiful two-track EP, Impatience. The title track pens an honest and tragic tale of romance, sketched atop a synth-heavy concerto which wouldn’t sound out of place alongside Twin Peaks. As the track unfolds, AnnaMelina’s auto-tuned lyrics meld into the foundation of soft synth palettes she has created, topped with Varg’s percussive offerings. There’s also an apparent trap influence, perhaps lingering from the Lean collab, as Varg’s drum programming veers towards the genre with its hi-hat triplets. “Vallmo” acts as the outro for the showpiece here, a beatless and uplifting synth-flexing of what “Impatience” could have sounded like in a major key.

We talked about Love International in our interview with Fantastic Man for the 217th Truancy Volume. The week-long festival that takes place in Tisno, Croatia, is relatively young, but it’s already got an unbeatable lineup that includes stars and Truants faves such as Avalon Emerson, Bicep and Call Super (to give a short ABC). The festival teamed up with Balearic blog Test Pressing for a compilation titled The Sound Of Love International 001, kicking off with a 12-track selection from London DJ Gatto Fritto. It’s not dissimilar to the Dekmantel Selectors series, but in this case the tracks were played by Gatto Fritto at the festival itself – so more like the Global Underground compilations of yore. As one might expect, there’s plenty of dub, from the ‘70s right up to 2008. Most intriguing is the pitching of Joe Ariwa’s “King Moses” at 33rpm, as well as a dub version of Sonny Okosun’s “Highlife”. The African rhythms also include the skweee of Anaalivaihe’s “10_11_2012”. Taste is everything, and this writer is most taken by Pilgrims Of The Mind’s “Airplane”, a dreamy house track that preceded anything the Vancouver Riviera new wave came up with by a good two decades. Similarly, the hypnotic repetition of Khan’s “Turkish Bath” is mesmerising. Then we have the skippy dub of “Dark Continent” from Sandoz, an alias of Richard H Kirk. There’s a hint of a bass line in there that may have resurfaced in Call Super’s “Black Octagons”, but that’s just idle speculation. Mi Ami’s “Free Of Life” sounds like a screaming disco wigout from 1983, but in fact originated on a release for 100% Silk in 2012 – it’s a track from Damon Palermo and Daniel Martin-McCormick, aka Ital. Who’d-a thunk it? There’s also a timeless track from Xes Noiz (literally – Discogs cites “Unknown” as its year of release) that combines male grunts with heavy dub and psychedelic delay. Something for all the family, just like the festival.

It’s really easy to throw around descriptors and themes like spatiality, intensity and physicality when it comes to electronic music, but few embody those things and take them to their extremes like SØS Gunver Ryberg. The Danish artist has played in all sorts of scenarios and her compositions have soundtracked VR exhibitions, performance art and theatre and even videogames such as INSIDE. Whilst her resumé reveals a diligent and considered yet prolific approach to production, it’s not so often we’re treated to a more traditional recorded music release – which makes this occasion very special indeed. Ryberg suitably dropped her AFTRYK EP of visceral technoise on the Kerridge-founded Contort label, before standing as an integral piece to Paula Temple’s enthralling anonymised collaboration puzzle Decon/Recon. She now returns to Temple’s Noise Manifesto platform to share SOLFALD, which compiles some of her original productions alongside project pieces from Evelyn Hribersek’s Eurydike.

The opening track features electrostatic yawns and drones, growling and whirring to stir up a mood of anticipation. Created using sounds from the electromagnetic fields detected in Copenhagen’s Opera House, “Kredsløb” (which may well mean “Orbit”) very much comes across as a psychoanalytic exercise ahead of a major excursion. Most of the EP continues to explore the more soundtrack-y aspects of Ryberg’s craft. There’s “Dispersion”, which channels a space opera feel with a rotating cast of morphing synth pulses, orchestral gleams and some tumbling glitch for good measure. There’s also a pair of pieces from Eurydike, each a sprawling, overwhelming mass of sound in their own way. “Op ad dybet” and “Lazayak” are the two brawnier, beats-oriented tunes seething with Ryberg’s flavour of futurist industrialism. The former unleashes an unpredictable barrage of kicks out for the 50-hit combo to spin you sideways, whilst the latter wields distortion to devastating returns. Both add to SØS Gunver Ryberg’s reputation as the kind of artist whose music compels you to hire a soundsystem to listen to it there and then.

Words by Jena Sivakuma, Aidan Hanratty and Tayyab Amin.

Photo by Amanda Chidli.

Previous editions of Sunday’s Best here.

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1 thought on “Sunday’s Best Pt. LIX”

  1. The single follows a few collaborations between the two artists over the past year. AnnaMelina sang on a cut from Varg’s album Gore-Tex City, issued through the Northern Electronics label Varg helps run, and they also performed together at Berlin Atonal. Their first production as FLORA, “Spira,” appeared on the recent Posh Isolation compilation I Could Go Anywhere But Again I Go With You. Go

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