Synthpop with a Swedish flavour care of SAILOR & I…
Swedish electronic musician Alexander Sjödin caught everyone’s attention with the dark electropop appeal of ‘Black Swan’ in 2016 under the moniker Sailor & I.
Sjödin grew up with an avid interest in music, with the likes of Beastie Boys and Kiss informing the young Swede’s initial musical education. Crafting his own music from an early age, this background activity took on a more active role when he opted to trial out his tunes in public under the guise of Sailor & I.
Taking the name from reading psychology in high school, the duality of the name Sailor & I represents the two wills competing inside Sjödin – reason and drive, ego and id.
There’s a glacial broodiness about Sailor & I’s material that sets it apart from much of the generic club tunes that are floating around on the current music scene. At times the songs suggest hints of fellow Swedish outfit The Sound Of Arrows and comparisons have also been drawn with everyone from Bon Iver to Sigur Rós. Or as Sjödin describes Sailor & I’s signature sound: “orchestras, analog synths, drums and vocals”.
Sailor & I first arrived on the scene in 2012 care of debut release ‘Tough Love’ which employed an evocative strings arrangement against an emotive vocal delivery from Sjödin. The Turn Around EP, which arrived in 2014, continued along familiar lines and also saw Sjödin’s work remixed by the likes of Âme and Joris Voorn.
Âme’s remix of ‘Turn Around’ gave the track a much more dynamic work-over and it subsequently raised Sailor & I’s profile in the blogosphere, as well as spending several weeks in the Beatport chart.
Adapting his music for live performances, Sjödin performed at several festivals and gigs across Europe throughout 2015. Sjödin also spent time collaborating with other electronic artists, while still working on his own material.
‘Sweat’, which arrived the same year, was built around a plaintive piano melody and subtle electronica. The release also slipped in a cover version of Joy Division’s ‘Disorder’ for good effect.
Signing to the Skint record label, Sailor & I returned in 2016 with the release of ‘Black Swan’. The new release revealed an evolution in Sailor & I’s sound with a much more lush production style and Sjödin’s vocals taking on a whispery, hypnotic presence.
A superb remix version of ‘Black Swan’ by Maceo Plex lent the track a more muscular feel, while keeping Sjödin’s distinctive vocals intact.
Now new release ‘Chameleon’ arrives, ahead of debut album The Invention Of Loneliness, which is due out on 24th February.
‘Chameleon’ (which premiered via Eton Messy) has a subtle power to it that can take a few spins to appreciate. There’s a dark piano melody over which Sjödin’s yearning vocal offers hints of change or transformation. Meanwhile, a gradually-building slab of stark electronics gives the track a dark pop appeal.
Meanwhile, the forthcoming album will gather together ‘Chameleon’ alongside earlier releases ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Fire On The Moon’ – a powerful track that weaves together brooding synths against deep layers of electronics and treated vocals.
Sailor & I have shaped up to be one of the more intriguing electronic acts of the modern era and The Invention Of Loneliness may well be one of the more interesting releases of 2017.
The Invention Of Loneliness is released 24th February on Skint.
Sailor & I play at The Pickle Factory on 2nd March
Tickets on sale now – http://www.alttickets.com/sailor-i-tickets
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.