Albert af Ekenstam is a Scandinavian songwriter who creates rich music somewhere between folk and post-rock, packing the intimacy of singer-songwriter fare along with more cinematic backing. Enlisting the help of band-mate Sumie Nagano (who releases solo music with Bella Union), drummer/producer Filip Leyman and trumpeter Max Lindahl, his new album, Ashes, is a record with great emotional weight. At once welcoming and remote, melancholy and comforting, the album is the aural equivalent of a stand of trees on some lonely mountain, sheltered from the cold by its own size and shape.
Losing his mother when he was twelve, Albert af Ekenstam and his sister were forced to grow up more or less alone. Ashes is in part a meditation on loneliness and inner-strength, how determination can not only co-exist with but actually derive from fragility. As such, grief and sadness colour the songs but do not define them, leaving that to the incandescent moments of defiance and joy which spit and spark through the dark, like fireflies on a summer’s night, embers blown high on the wind.
To help us better understand the range of emotions that went into Ashes, Albert af Ekenstam has crafted us a list of songs, one for every situation and circumstance that cropped up during the creation of the record. Not only does it serve as a great way to explore the influences behind Albert’s work, it also makes for a rather beautiful listen.
When you dream…