Swedish, Gothenburg-based drummer-multi-instrumentalist-producer Johan Björklund celebrates his newly founded label Eternal Darkness Records with a new conceptual album inspired by the Swedish countryside, and stories related to different places in and around the village of Hedekas, North East Bohuslän. This beautiful region had a formative effect on Björklund as a musician. The album’s title, an old Swedish word for a nomad or beggar, relates to the name of a farm where Björklund grew up as a child, close to the village of Hedekas.
Björklund, known for his role in the band Thymeshift, is, obviously, no beggar, but he claims to be «a curious and adventurous nomad». The majority of the music of Pjäxeröd 2.0 was created in close collaboration with Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen who resides in southern Sweden, not far from Gothenburg. Björklund and Henriksen played and improvised together, discussed the music, experimented with different sound sources and assorted instruments, and exchanged sound files back and forth. Later on, Björklund invited a cast of musicians, including guitarist Thomas Gunillasson of Thymeshift, bassist Thomas Markusson who recently collaborated with him in the trio MIRE III and vocalist Maria Palmqvist, to embellish the music, while giving them full artistic freedom. Most of the music was recorded at Björklund’s Studio Eternal Darkness between 2021 and 2023.
The outcome is a cinematic, 15-part suite that is evocative and puzzling at the same time. The music sounds like it evokes old and mysterious mythological tales, motivates local environmental struggles (about a plan to build a storage for nuclear waste), visits significant locations (like the morning gathering place before the yearly moose hunt) or the mighty frozen lakes in the area and the abandoned houses of the region, and reminisces unique sights of the region like the slow movement of the vehicles on the roads. All these fond and unsettling memories and the contrasting feelings that already challenged Björklund as a child to explore his musical way are now transformed into a highly impressive, nuanced and enigmatic puzzle of sounds, voices and visions.
Johan Björklund (drums, electronics, Nord drum, synthesizer, Rhodes, grand piano, electric guitar, electric bass, objects), Arve Henriksen (trumpet, voice, electronics), Thomas Markusson (double bass, electronics), Armand van Wijck (chromatic harmonica), Maria Palmqvist (voice), John Lönnmyr (synthesizer, organ), Thomas Gunillasson (electric guitar)