Baron Bane (Sweden) - Fire Play (remix)
It’s funny how things have a way of coming around. There are quite a few ‘firsts’ for me involving this band. Baron Bane were the first of many artists I heard coming out of Gävle in Central Sweden, circa 2009 if I remember, along with their half Swedish/half English vocalist, Ida Long, who has a separate career of her own and which drew me to the area. It was the start of a long journey.
Then, in 2016, after I’d started writing about music and especially Nordic music they were the first band from the entire region that I travelled there to see, when they released their third album, the imaginatively titled ‘III’. (The second one was ‘LPTO’, you get the idea).
Since then they’ve been quiet but the various band members have numerous other distractions, either as musicians or producers/label (Stupid Dream Records) managers. But I’ve never forgotten them or their release concert for ‘III’, which was held clandestinely, by invitation only, in their recording studio on an industrial estate in not the best part of Gävle and in which they played with different band members in different rooms and two of them, guitarist Stefan Aronsson and Ida Long, balancing half way up a wall on balconies. It was like a three-dimensional theatre-in-the-round in reverse with most of the audience (some of them were on another balcony) up very close and personal. To this day it’s still one of the best gigs I’ve ever attended.
It’s hard to ‘label’ them. They used to refer to themselves as “an artsy-fartsy indietronic outfit for fans of Radiohead”” or something like that while Baron Bane himself is a mysterious, grizzled old figure thatcarries the perplexing slogan ‘As time passes, withers and dies, I will always be.’ Their Facebook page now offers a more sedate ‘Melancholic pop/electro/indie’ which I suppose is pretty accurate.
But what it leaves out is the power they generate from a wall of sound when they are in full flow, notably on songs like ‘How does it feel to let go’, ‘The End’ and ‘And the flare will spark’. All are very accomplished musicians that have played in a multitude of bands and especially Aronsson, who is probably one of the top guitarists in Sweden.
Which prompts your inevitable question, why have I never heard of them? And that, my friends, I cannot answer. All I can offer up is that while they always took exceptional care over the recording of their albums and their subsequent production, a process that could last years, I always got the impression that Baron Bane was something between a hobby and a labour of love. They did tour, both in Sweden andabroad, at first but later forwent it, appearing only once in the UK I believe, in 2007. I always believed a concerted tour of the UK would have gained them a strong following among the psych community here, alone. Their live performance is always spectacular, with bizarre masks and mime artists, they’ve played a gig in their town’s railway museum, on and in the old engines, and they once almost burnt down one of its theatres with pyrotechnics.
I was concerned we might never hear from them again then a few days ago they started placing strange messages about ‘7th May’ on socials, along with the Baron’s scary visage. I was hoping it might be a new album but they typically do a running online commentary on those over the course of a year or longer.
What they have done, on the fifth anniversary of ‘III’, is to remix a track from that album, ‘Fire Play’. The re-mixer is local label (Lamour) owner ‘Slim Vic’ Zeidner, a specialist in ambient electronic musicwho has featured separately in NMR in the past, along with some of his artists such as Anna-Karin Berglund (’AKB’).
I’m not a great fan of remixes generally although I recall some excellent ones for Ida Long a few years ago but I have to say that Mr Zeidner has turned it into a completely different song, a seven and a half minute epic with an unrelenting, hammering beat, virtually zero vocals and assorted noises that belong in a Blade Runner disco. In fact it’s more in tune with what Ida Long has been doing recently than ‘Melancholic pop/electro/indie’.
I case you were wondering what the original sounded like there is a video for it, one of several that were made in support of ‘III’.
It was worth writing this just to compare and contrast the two. What fun. See if you can spot the difference.
The ‘Fire Play’ remix is available via Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and Tidal streams.
Fingers crossed that this little trip down Memory Lane heralds a new dawn for the Baron although a return to previous form would also be appreciated. One remix is enough, thanks.
Baron Bane is:
Stefan Aronsson – guitar
Christer Jäderlund - keys
Rasmus Diamant – bass
Petter Diamant – drums
Ida Long - vocals