Nine months have passed – have fallen like red autumn leaves to the ground – since I first heard Albert af Ekenstam’s solo material.
During this time Albert has, amongst other things, released 4 singles on Kning Disk (”Walking” , ”Angel Liz”, ”The Devil Bird” and ”made of Gold”), acted as a warm up act for The Posies and Bear’s Den, played on festivals like Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg etc, moved from Gothenburg to Stockholm and appeared in prestigious English magazines like The Independent and Clash magazine and others well known blogs like Consequences of sound and so on.
And I, in my turn, have listened and listened again to his music. Over and over I’ve lost myself in his melancholy guitars, grandiose arrangements, heartfelt voice and poignant lyricism. I’ve also studied; discovered that the Estonian indie rock band Ewert and The Two Dragons included Albert’s song “Falling” on their second album ”Good Man Down” (I Love You Records, 2011) ...
On the 14th of October Albert of Ekenstam’s debut album will meet its expectant audience. “Ashes” is its name and the outstanding label Kning Disk will release it. Singer/guitarist Sumie Nagano (whose self-titled album on Bella Union is a must for all who love unique voices), drummer/keyboardist/ producer Filip Leyman (who, together with Albert, make up the post-rock constellation Tempel) and trumpeter Max Lindahl (known from a number of jazz bands) have all helped Albert bring it to fruition.
With “Ashes” on the stereo and with eyes closed memory fragments, glowing emotions and pure dreams fly through your soul.
Like Elliot Smith (rest in peace) and Damien Jurado, say, Albert is a very brave and straightforward singersongwriter. His melodies and lyrics are like uncensored and infinitely beautiful letters – without euphemisms and false chords they let you know what’s on his mind. At the same time they’re universal – if you’ve loved and lost you can relate to them.
They also – also! – start your internal movie projector. With “Ashes” on the stereo and with eyes closed memory fragments, glowing emotions and pure dreams fly through your soul. That Filip’s production (which you’ve heard on Anna von Hausswolff’s two latest albums) is both intimate and grand at the same time makes this personal cinematic experience even more sensational. Great art. What more can you ask for?
Albert af Ekenstam is here to stay.
I look forward to spending many years in the company of his solo material.
Words by: Johan Jacobsson (Sonic etc)
Press photo: (4,3 MB) photo by Johan Bergmark