MP3: Johan Heltne - Katarinas pappa ska dö

I find myself at a loss for words when faced with Johan Heltne's new album "Sara,", much like I did with his previous record "Vetenskapliga bevis för att Jesus lever". Beyond the issues pertaining to the obvious language barrier, Johan's music remains peculiar and enigmatic, albeit with a sharper, rawer edge this time out. Lead track "Krieg ist krieg und schnaps ist schnaps" (as first posted here) was a red herring with its easy-listening sax solo and gentle atmosphere, which is not to say that similar tropes aren't repeated/revisited, but the overall feel of the album is anything but "easy". Johan's soft, half-whispered vocals betray his intentions. "Sara, was written during a strange year," he says, "One of my best friends contracted cancer and was dead six months later. Another friend made a serious attempt to take his own life. Another friend was raped at an afterparty. At the same time, several conflicts raged around me, where I was more or less involved. They were concerned with gender roles, dissent and unability to understand others, something that resulted in polite non-relationships. During this time I also had unusually many and powerful epileptic seizures at night. I remember it as though I never was able to get a good night's sleep. The lyrics of Sara, are characterized by this." Nowhere are these feelings more apparent than on "Katarinas pappa ska dö", a Bergman deathbed scene set to song (see lyrics here). Images of blinding whiteness gives way to a harsh sustained chord, the inevitable pressing weight of darkness and the pain of reality and death, a feeling reflected in the music's brutal starkness. No, this is far from easy.

Johan Heltne - Katarinas pappa ska dö