Swedish noise agitator Dan Johannsson bothers his good pals at iDEAL with a brilliant new LP following his Aska split album with Puce Mary in 2013. Malign by nature and intent, his overdue return to Joachim Nordwall’s label is a sorely strung out and decayed thing, a dank space hankering to be inhabited by listeners who want or need to be pushed into uncomfortable headspaces. If you're into anything from Jandek to Wolf Eyes to The Caretaker - this one's for you.
Malign trades in a sense of depression and negativity that draws strength from the vacuum behind hope, vacillating forlorn, Loren Connors-like guitar melodies and rubbled shellac samples that recall The Caretaker with passages of fierce distortion and slurried atmospheric textures that project hellish images of waterboarding and abject terror on the mind.
The guitar pieces are almost Jandek-like in their awkwardness, often morphing mid sentence into the kind of shuddering knots that Aaron Dilloway would be proud of, steadily toeing away hope in favour of full depressive immersion and feelings from the brink. Ultimately, though, the record wouldn’t be so convincing without its severe sense of sincerity, honestly conveying that pall of darkness without any ironic distance. It’s a proper downer in the best way.