Kajsa Lindgren - WOMB [Hyperdelia - 2019]WOMB is the first full-length release from Swedish composer and sound artist Kajsa Lindgren. She studied Western contemporary art music as well as electroacoustic composition, has a Bachelor (2015) and a Master (2017) in electroacoustic composition from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. In her work, she mainly uses field recordings, which she presents in different ways and often reflects through spatial multi-channel distribution. Her work includes electroacoustic compositions, sound installations, and compositions for acoustic traditional instruments.
WOMB was released by Berlin-based label Hyperdelia- coming in thick a 180g vinyl in an edition of 500. The double-sided artwork for the LP was designed by the visual artist Cathrine Bowitz and looks very appealing.
The release sees her creating compositions by combining interviews and field recordings in an effective way to open up different ways of exploring topics and environments. For the release she tries to create a sonic narrative that puts the listener in subaquatic sound environments- bringing together lost memories and voices out of the unknown. Her source-recordings (or compositions ?) get played underwater in a swimming pool, and then re-recorded with hydrophones to re-arrange and resume them by abstracting certain material from their sound-structure.
On some tracks, there are some distant sounds with dramatic outbursts, which become tiny and intimate as long as the ambience distorts into static and dark soundscapes. The subtle layers of field recordings, interviews, and ambient drones, as well as their re-recordings in the underwater environment, make WOMB a fascinating phono-poetic creation and a very interesting concept!... but I did expected a bit more.
The first three tracks was most impactful- Dark, epic soundscapes that really fit the explanation of WOMB, but then gets a bit strange when voices elements begin to get introduced. For me, these are not really very effective or surreal - it unfortunately just sounds amusing. and doesn't fit with the gloomy structure of the other pieces.
The album's first track "Cocoon" starts with some static sound, backgrounded by rhythmic drops. A certain amount of tension builds up, with a layer of drone paired with nearly melodic feedback, which at moments gets blurring out with static- a great start
The second piece is "The Garden". Here an initially static layer develops into an ever more prominent drone, which fade out at its zenith to eerie sounding voices elements, which are accompanied by clinking amplified objects.
With "The Inanimate World Pt.1" follows a wonderful dark ambient drone piece, that really fits into the mood of both previous tracks. Very interesting here is the spoken word part!
The fourth piece "All The Other Children" begins with a few distorted or stretched sound-notes. But sadly the funny sounding voices are added in- and they really do take away from to the gloomy mood. This track is not really for me.
With the fifth piece, she has me again! "Far To Reach Me" starts with field recordings of birds and a very bleak yet subtle drone sound. The tension built up here is partially interrupted by amplified metallic objects, which build-up with creepy horn-like sounds.
"Forest" is the sixth longest track, and it takes us into a dark, scary forest. Here lives a beast and it is lurking in the shadow! The mood is additionally supported with further feedback sounds, which slowly blend with layer of static background, field recordings of birds, wind, rustle, and water.
The last track "The Inanimate World Pt.2" is a very nice soundscape from an intersection of the most beautiful parts of the previous pieces. Here we everything from the other tracks I enjoyed, including some melodic parts. The voices are also present here, but fortunately not the funny sounding ones!
WOMB is interesting and recommended work! Only the funny sounding voice parts let it down. In my opinion, they simply do not fit into the concept described by the artist herself. Never the less it's very nice first work and great listening experience!- I'm curious to hear what Kajsa Lindgren does next. Jan Warnke