Fredrik Öhr :: Under a Different Sun (Substream/Mareld)

If you search for the strange and unique, get yourselves a copy of this album as soon as possible, I beseech you. There’s really nothing quite like it out there.

Fredrik Öhr‘s debut album, Falling through the Earth, just came out of nowhere back in 2009 via the excellent Aleph Zero imprint. It was my first meeting with Öhr’s music, and very quickly I realized he is a brilliant sound wizard and a talented musician with the most peculiar and alluring sound and style. His music is an acquired taste, an idiosyncratic circus full of mysteries and wonders. It takes a bit of time to really get into it, but eventually, after the spell captures you, you keep coming back, wishing to drink more from this hidden, mystical sonic fountain. While Falling through the Earth is a sumptuous east meets west voyage in tenderly psychedelic downtempo electronica territories, Under a Different Sun takes the listener through intoxicating oneiric mazes of folk-infused, pop-ish, alternative electronica saturated songs.

The psychedelia is here, and even the seductive eastern aroma sneaks in gently occasionally, but it’s the ambient pop, alternative, folky electronica architecture that dominates. Everything blends so well, genre fences collapse, letting different elements from different corners of the musical spectrum merge effortlessly into eleven lavish, multilayered and highly dynamic tapestries. The themes are simple and catchy in the most wonderful way, and the production is complex and quirky in the most fascinating way. Clearly a lot of thought, effort and time were invested by Öhr in order to create the most sincere, effective, crystallized and carefully nuanced album. Backed up by talented co-conspirators—My Engström Renman: vocals on “The Big Sleep,” Martin Karlsson: guitar on “The Big Sleep,” Emil Lundaahl: guitar on “Into the Deep” and “Messages from Home,” Tobias Livheim: vocals on “Lost Direction,” Stefan Lundaahl: guitar drones on “Lost Direction,” Maralmaa Enkhtuul and Enkhtuul Batchuluun: spoken words on “Messages from Home” and “Into the Deep”—Öhr gracefully conducts the ride using computer, synths, piano, vocals, flute, guitar and percussion.

My emotions when finding out about this second album (which I was quite looking forward to) were mixed.
I was very happy to learn that finally Öhr’s sophomore album is available to experience, but also slightly disappointed to realize it’s a digital-only release. I guess I’m an old-fashioned kinda guy when it comes to experiencing music. I really hope that at some point Under a Different Sun will get the physical release it so rightfully deserves. The bizarre artwork will surely look great on a slick thick cardboard digipak. I will certainly be keeping a special space for this album on one of my CD shelves, but until then I will keep immersing myself in its wonders via the WAV files, discovering more charms and subtleties with each listening session. If you search for the strange and unique, get yourselves a copy of this album as soon as possible, I beseech you. There’s really nothing quite like it out there.

Under a Different Sun is available on Substream/Mareld.

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