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Arv & Miljö

A killer drop from the amazing scene of Swedish experimentalism that gave us Enhet För Fri Musik's "Ömhet & Skilsmässa" earlier this year, Discreet Music returns with “Ensam Är Nattens Rymd Över Vita Vägar”, the third instalment of Arv & Miljö's DIY seasonal ambient excursions. Built from a pallet of acoustic instrumentation, interspersed with a range of field recordings and delicate electronic interventions, droning icy images of winter are rendered with a rare sense of humanity that sets Arv & Miljö apart within the world of electroacoustic practice and delivers one of the most intriguing records of the year.

Over the course of their short run, the fledgling, Gothenburg based imprint, Discreet Music, has assembled a striking discography of releases that orbit around a fascinating contemporary scene of experimentalism emerging from Sweden, including Facit, Klas Trollius, Blod, and Enhet För Fri Musik, whose LP Ömhet & Skilsmässa, was one of the more talked about records of 2021. Rounding out the year with one final drop, they now return with Arv & Miljö’s Ensam Är Nattens Rymd Över Vita Vägar, the third instalment in the artist’s seasonal ambient tetralogy that began with Svensk Sommar I Stilla Frid (Omlott Records, 2018), followed by Himmelsvind (Discreet Music, 2020). Weaving its own immersive, thematically driven world from a pallet of acoustic instrumentation, field recordings, electronics, and processing, it delivers a calm high into hectic cacophony of the shortest days of the year.

Arv & Miljö is the moniker of the Gothenburg based artist, Matthias Andersson, who is also a member of the noteworthy ensembles Enhet För Fri Musik and Heinz Hopf. With a growing body of releases behind him, in 2018 Arv & Miljö began a new project, conceiving four albums of lo-fi ambience that bridge the gaps between the historic electronic excursions of Swedish New Age music, DIY noise, and experimental electroacoustic practice. Approached with an anything goes attitude, the first, Svensk Sommar I Stilla Frid, drew us into the long days of Swedish summer, painting images, via shimmering harmonies, of sleepless nights, foggy July fields, and sun sets, while the second, Himmelsvind, deployed flirtations with kosmische music, extensive field recordings, samples, and tape loops, to weave bubbling images of the early blooms of Spring.

Comprising eleven discrete passages, Arv & Miljö’s latest, Ensam Är Nattens Rymd Över Vita Vägar, draws us into the heart of the wintery months, weaving a new distinct world from a newly conceived pallet of sounds, drawing childhood memories of long, cold winters and walks through slushy Gothenburg streets. Deploying a back-to-basics, analogue 4-track approach, we encounter the shimmering ambiences of the previous releases in a subdued form, delivering shadowy aural images that often feel as though they’ve been refracted off of ice and captured from within the depths of a snow cave.

Featuring guest appearances by Helen Johnstone (The Garbage & The Flowers) and P Wits, delicate, slow moving forms - drones, fragmented melodies, and jarring discordance largely rendered on acoustic instruments, interspersed with a range of field recordings and delicate electronic interventions, rest within the gloomy haze of tape murk, sculpting a delicate vision of electroacoustic conceptualism that is visionary, unique, and marked by a sense of human warmth that stands in stark contrast to the world it builds.

Yet another crucial document from the fascinating experimental scene blooming from Sweden, as we head into the long winter months, Arv & Miljö’s Ensam Är Nattens Rymd Över Vita Vägar couldn’t be more perfectly placed. Issued on vinyl in a very limited edition of 513 copes in a beautifully produced gatefold sleeve, we haven’t heard anything like it all year. It’s not going to sit around long. Grab a copy while you still can.