When a member of a loved glitch outfit gets in touch, I might be a little more than eager. ‘What You Didn’t Know When You Hired Me’ and ‘Cheap Italian Wine’ were albums on repeat through my 20s, they were worn like a geek’s badge of honour. With camp scifi bliphop and bristling twitch indie, and songs about He-Man and cloning, Bondage Fairies were as cute as they sounded. Now it’s 2021, and almost ten years later, and Magnus Josefsson returns with a soft sprawling mixtape released on Berlin’s Anette Records.
It’s a long slow release of a ride, light years from those fast frantic Fairies. 30 minutes of music gets split through two tracks with a cut for Side A and Side B. There’s prog, dreamwave ‘tronica, evolving progressions over space-disco pulses, and twists in surprising directions. These are patient and finely tuned pieces, all stitched together through collaborations between Småland, Denmark and UK.
Side A comes in two separate movements. The first, and the best and the bulk of the track, spins out textures and synths and propulsive percussion, to make something that stretches and wanes. There’s a lush 70s gleam to the synthwork, to the tune of Prins Thomas or Ichisan, where slow-build mutations and production trickery plays against layers of reverb’d guitar. It’s an odyssey jam for all Tangerine Deam-ers that strips down to something more fluid.
Enter Side A, movement 2. This latter half does away with electro and slips into organic soundscapes and prog. It’s smooth, contemplative, in a wash of warm sounds. It’s a long cosmic slide of an outro. This new introspection and ruminating mood takes us into the start of Side B.
This is where the big break-out sneaks in. There’s no way to expect the Smiths-esque wonder-jangle that creeps in to switch the direction. It’s the second centrepiece of the album, with a soft spoken vocal in a thick Scottish accent that brings new human depth to the mixtape. It’s as welcome as it is surprising, with a lightness of touch that breaks free from the groove that Side B just too easily relies on. Once it’s gone, we return to that hazed freeform feel for the last closing movement and minutes.
As a showcase of spirit and collaboration, this release and this project intrigues. The shifts from the blueprint, the breaks from main mood, when it’s shaken, it runs at its best. We don’t yet know how many of these there will be, so let’s see what shapes get spun next.