Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Malin Andersson (Sweden) – Reef (single from forthcoming album)

Interesting. If I’d made it to the Future Echoes festival in Sweden a couple of weeks ago I might have seen Malin Andersson in the raw so to speak, but it wasn’t to be.

I’ll have to put my ‘serious’ hat on here because I read in the publicity notes that Malin’s forthcoming album, ‘Space to feel’ is “a body of work that explores current climate issues and the concept of allowing room for individual sensitivities to breathe easy,” while this single/track, ‘Reef’ arose “from concerns around the world’s environmental crisis and humanity’s elemental connection to nature.”

The ‘individual sensitivities’ part I have no issue with. I’m as individualistic as it’s possible to be, so how could I have? ‘Climate issues’ though I don’t buy into. Well, certainly not those that have the world spontaneously combusting within the next three years, as it’s been predicted to for decades.

So you might argue I’m not the best person to be reviewing this song at all. But on the other hand if an artist can present a composition meaningfully I’ll give them credit for it even if I don’t agree with the premise or the politics.

Moreover, I’ve always supported a compatriot of Malin’s, namely Gaeya, who was also at Future Echoes, and they write and sing from pretty much the same hymn sheet.

‘Reef’ “likens humanity’s direction of travel to a ship that’s sailed into a reef and is now stuck, and is trying to figure out how to re-establish some sort of balance, both collectively & individually.” But it also has a sub-plot in which she disclaims her propensity to “apologise for my own vulnerability”, opting instead to use her “sensitivity” to useful purpose and encouraging others to follow her example.

She’s identified as a ‘NuFolk’ artist. I’d always associated that word with the West London-originating sound of refined alt-folk/rockers like Mumford & Sons and Noah & the Whale, although Laura Marling, another exponent of the sound, is much closer to Malin in her work.

The song, and Malin’s enchanting vocal, collectively encourage a contemplative state. It’s the sort of thing they should be playing to Putin; it might help him with his anger management. The instrumentation, a blend of strings and guitars at an orchestral level, matches it perfectly and I was particularly impressed with the moderate African rhythm, which could be the product of Manu Katché in his work with Peter Gabriel.  

I don’t know where the video was shot, it doesn’t look like Sweden. As she lives in London now I’m guessing it’s an English or even Irish coastal location and there’s an ambience about the production that suggests an Irish connection. Think of Dana in the 1970s, after she’d met Greta Thunberg.

I was intrigued to read that Malin counts Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez amongst her influences, along with Bloomsbury Group author Virginia Woolf. That’s a meditative bunch of erudite people and promises more thought-provoking material on the album.

‘Reef’ is available now. Album date tba.

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