If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of years, you may know that the Swedish cities of Umea, Sweden’s third (and most Northern) and Malmo, Sweden’s twelfth (and most Southern) have emerged with reputations as being Sweden and Scandinavia’s newest, most exciting creative hotbeds as an increasing number of artists and bands from both cities have started to receive international recognition — including the likes of JOVM mainstays Moonbabies, Cajsa Siik, Frida Selander and YAST and others. I have to add to that list, Umea, Sweden-bornsinger/songwriter, producer and sound designer Catharina Jaunviksna, who splits time between her home country, Italy and Ireland and who has received attention with her solo recording project Badlands. With the release of 2012’s Battles Within EP and single “Tutu,” Jaunviksna’s Badlands project received attention from the likes of The 405 and Under the Radar for a sound that many of my colleagues have described as possessing elements of trip-hop and experimental pop.
April will mark the release of her forthcoming full-length effort Locus and album’s first single “Echo” reveals yet another change in sonic direction for Jaunviksna, as the single is a dance floor-ready song consisting of layers of staccato synth stabs and layers of cascading and twinkling synths, swirling electronics and an infectious hook paired with Jaunviksna’s ethereal coos bubbling and floating over the mix’s hazy surface, which give the song an eerie and spectral undercurrent. Thematically and lyrically the song reportedly discusses self-censorship and the inherent dangers self-censorship can entail. As Jaunviksna explained in press notes “Even though the first intentions might be good, it always ends as a witch hunt and nobody daring to speak their mind.” But sonically speaking to my years, the song channels the likes of Depeche Mode, Still Corners and others as the song possess a captivating pull, begging the listener to come up closer.