Last time we wrote about Loney Dear he’d just released his single 'Trifles', which somewhat intriguingly referred to bodies being dumped in the waters outside the theatre in Nybroviken, apparently. What with this and David’s Pastlife feature yesterday, we definitely need Colombo. Or maybe we’re more suited to Scooby Doo.
Behind Loney Dear is the artist and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen, who is held in the highest regard by a lot of Swedish artists I’ve come across, and new single ‘Oppenheimer’ (released yesterday) is the latest track to be released from his forthcoming album ‘A Lantern and a Bell’, due out March 26, 2021 via Peter Gabriel’s Real World label.
Now ‘Trifles’ was a pretty stunning track that swelled to a big climax and ‘Oppenheimer’ feels very different, restrained, contemplative, and he very cleverly creates an atmosphere straight from opening with the ‘static / fuzzy’ effects.
There’s a reason for this, as ‘Oppenheimer’ is based on the American theoretical physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, a man often known alongside others as being one of the 'fathers of the atomic bomb’.
Emil explains more about the release: “A lot of those people working with the atomic bomb were astrophysicists and they were passionate about researching space and mathematics and here they had this amazing opportunity, almost too good to miss. Maybe they were also trapped in a situation that was hard to avoid in a way. And immediately they understood, when they saw the results, that this is horrible. Like we've been tricked into doing this. There’s the famous quote by Oppenheimer; ‘I have become the destroyer of worlds.’ There's just something really powerful about it and that era.”.
The track has an almost solemn hymnal quality to it, perhaps even at one stage you can almost hear that in the chord progressions, as if in a church. Maybe not intended, but it therefore reminds me a little of fellow Swedish artist David Ahlen, who is less well known but who writes indie music very closely based on traditional hymns. I’m sure I once read there was a connection between the two, but I can’t find what that is now, maybe it was just a shared producer.
Anyway ‘Oppenheimer’ is very effective but in a different way to ‘Trifles’ and it certainly needs more plays. On Spotify they’ve been released together, along with (slightly bizarrely I feel) the Christmas style song Habibi he released in December.