Boomkat Product Review:
A haunting elegy to Swedish miners, and the artist’s grandfather in particular, recorded in the bowels of a mine by EMS studio assistant and XKathedral regular Erlandsson. Widescreen in scope but tunnelling under-the-skin with absorbing psychoactive details - RIYL Phill Niblock, Pauline Oliveros, Johann Johansson’s ‘The Miner’s Hymns’ OST
“Mats Erlandsson makes his debut on the Swiss label Hallow Ground with »Minnesmärke,« at once a nuanced sonic exploration of the industrial and political history of his native Sweden and a deeply personal album. One of the key figures of the Stockholm drone scene, the prolific composer worked with The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble’s Hillary Jeffery, violinist and long-time friend Gaianeh Pilossian as well as sound artist and frequent collaborator Yair Elazar Glotman for a two-part composition built around tuned sustained tones performed by electronic and acoustic instruments that were combined with field recordings in order to evoke a psychedelic state of reflection, a dream-like elegy for the acoustic properties of the former iron ore mine Ställbergs Gruva where the music has been conceived and recorded. Following up on releases on labels such as Hallow Ground label mates Kali Malone and Maria W Horn’s XKatedral imprint, »Minnesmärke« is Erlandsson's most accomplished work yet.
Originally a commissioned work by the Non Existent Center for a month-long artist residency in Ställbergs Gruva last Summer, »Minnesmärke« conceptually picks up on the socio-political and economic history of the Bergslagen region where the mine is situated. After mining operations had been on-going for decades prior, in the Industrial Age iron became one of the country’s largest exports, making the mining industry an integral part of the country’s progression towards a socialdemocratic welfare state in the years after World War II. With the rise of neoliberalism and the simultaneous erosion of the welfare state however, the mines around the region started closing, which resulted in the surrounding community losing its relative prosperity. Erlandsson’s interest in this story though does not exclusively stem from the historical significance of the mine, that has been re-opened in 2012 as a centre for cultural activities and critical thought. In fact, his grandfather was born and raised in the vicinity of it and thus his life - and, by extension, his grandson’s - was inextricably linked to its fate and the ebbs and flows of the industrial development in the area.”