- David Bentley
Introducing... Annsofie Salomon (Denmark): All Things (single)
Doing this job throws up some surprises. A couple of months ago we featured an album by Gurli Octavia which is one of the best debut records I’ve heard. Then, while I was perusing some recent releases, I thought I was listening to Gurli again, so similar to her vocal style is the one offered by Annsofie Salomon.
Not only that; along with Gurli and another Dane, Lydmor, Annsofie is blessed with the ability to wring emotion out of a song. Is it something they put in the water in Denmark?
And it seems that, just as with Gurli’s and Lydmor’s albums, there are ‘issues’ that lie behind the writing of this song. In the former’s case it was the ending of relationships – voluntarily or otherwise - drink and drugs; and in the latter’s sexual harassment. The issues run even deeper with Annsofie and encompass all manner of mental health matters.
On her social media outlet she says several “diagnoses” in her late 20s led to years of trying to “fix myself with therapy and medication”. Then, turning 30, what had been an overactive mind suddenly became a zombie-like, catatonic one prompting her to cut herself off from friends and to lose her way.
Then, one day on the beach, with her dog, she blanked completely, unable even to hear the waves. Many people who have suffered from depression will recognise that scenario. In what must have been a monumental effort she determined on the spot to quit the medication that was controlling her life.
She is at pains to point out that ‘All Things’ is not about advocating the ditching of prescribed medications per se but that it concerns her own personal journey of growth, learning and acceptance. And she accepts that for anyone who deals with a mental disorder the journey is never ending.
She describes herself in the PR as ‘Psychedelic / Freak Folk, Indie Folk, Folk’ and when I first listened to ‘All Things’ I was put off by some of the electronic effects and in particular what sounds like a car horn in the opening 15 seconds or so. But as time progressed the benefits began to outweigh the disadvantages as the majority of them, from the opening wiley, windy moors sound to the church organ to the multitudinous synthesiser intrusions towards the end do help paint a picture of mental turmoil.
At the end of the day what really counts is the way she sings the song, which is quite delightful.
There is a clever little video that goes with the song which she produced herself. Shot in a grainy, winter-ish black and white or thin sepia-tinted colour until the mental fog lifts at the end and spring is bursting forth there is some subtle imagery (walking backwards, a brief insertion of a jet contrail and of colour, close-ups of bodily parts like eyeballs and hair) that help illustrate the thought processes that go with the territory of emotional disorders.
I believe this is only her second published song. We are very much looking forward to the next one.
‘All Things’ is out now on the TAMBOURHINOCEROS label.