Contemporary music from everywhere

Kajsa Lindgren – Everyone is here

It’s been just over a year since Stockholm’s Kajsa Lindgren delivered her debut recording Hyperdelia. That was followed earlier this year by Longform Editions, and now her third LP Everyone is here. The 29-year-old composer and sound artist deserves your attention.

Her latest combines recordings of her childhood and family members with new voice and field-recording compositions. Lindgren produces gently nostalgic work that will appeal to ambient music lovers who appreciate the additional texture conveyed by found sounds. The source material she uncovered in her parent’s basement for Everyone is here makes this recording memorable.

Described in the notes as “a meditation on themes of inheritance, family and closeness,” Lindgren says the project “has given me an intimate understanding of them as human beings. We’ve all been kids, becoming adults. Trying to figure out who we are, what we want, what makes us happy and sad in life. There’s a great sense of connection and humility in that.”

The album’s centerpiece (for me) is “Trio for cello, piano and violin.” The original recording is of Lindgren’s mother, uncle and grandfather performing on Swedish radio in the 1970s. We hear brief sections of the tape, edited together and set adrift on pretty waves of white noise. It is a complete reinvention of the 40-something-year-old performance, and yet you can feel the original. It is plunderphonics executed with love and respect.

That wave analogy is apt. The family had a boat on the Baltic Sea, the memory of which continues to show up in Lindgren’s work. “Anna,” named for the boat, is a specific tribute. Consciously or not though, a good deal of her music produces the sensation of being adrift.

Recordings like this remind us how precious audio can be as a keepsake. When I listen to Everyone is here, I can’t help wishing that I’d recorded my own family more often. Occasionally I come across a clip of one of my kids talking into an old iPad. I have nothing like that of my late mother or grandparents, whose voices I miss deeply. How good would it feel to listen to a family dinner conversation from your childhood?

It’s striking how much emotion Lindgren is able to communicate with her work. Her training – she studied western contemporary art music and electroacoustic composition – clearly prepared her for excellence. What she’s chosen to do with that education however is both deeply personal and resonant.

Kevin Press

The Moderns, vols. 1 and 2, by Kevin Press are available exclusively from Amazon.

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