During a recent interview, Bam Spacey, the production moniker of Sweden’s Magnus Johansson, noted gardening as one of his current inspirations. Surrounded by a balcony’s worth of “carrots, herbs, and tomatoes,” Johansson cultivated 24 minutes of deep house beats, infused with the dominant pop gene of the nation’s early Viking settlers, for his debut EP, Land. The result is a meticulously arranged six-track affair that trades the heartiness of slowly cured Julskinka for the refined flair of sweet semla confectioneries.
This Swedish-English language barrier is irrelevant on “Dessa brÃ¤nder”, where after a slow-churning bass line and faint percussive moaning it’s easy to imagine two beautiful bodies overcome in an early morning embrace. Before their radiant afterglow has started to subside, the couple are jostled alert with echoes of a vibrant city in “Vintern jagar”.
The darkness within Johannson is the focus of the ambient dub that creeps through album opener “Taigan” and closing track “Rivieran”. Conceived while “stuck in a pretty frustrating situation … I had to get out of”, Johannson is pleading for change over syncopated marimbas, which haunt the listener through abstract Medieval castles. However, the bright synths reduce the ability to connect on a deeper, more visceral level. Loss and change can be painful, but throughout Land, Johannson seems unable to fully commit to the dark– or light– inside of himself.
Once at the helm of multiple indie-pop projects, Johansson packs the digital sea of vocal-driven microhouse into pop-sized packaging. With no track over five minutes, phrases are barely allowed to develop before they are tossed aside for another, consistently pulling the listener up for air when the only desire is to stay forever submerged.
Since dropping the band for a bedroom studio space, Johannson has chosen a path of solo production, but the young producer would be wise to reach out to current Ceremony Recordings labelmates Young Athletes League. This connection would help solidify his skills at production and deft song structure. For now, the producer who once felt without a home has produced an EP without a home, trapped somewhere between ethereal indie pop and minimal dance music.
Essential Track: “Dessa brÃ¤nder”