Sweden’s Simian Ghost followed up their debut Infinite Traffic Everywhere with the 2012 album Youth, which now enjoys a wider, deluxe edition re-release today from Red Eye Transit. Replete with five extra bonus tracks, we present a full-length stream—bonus cuts and all—along with a discussion with the founding artist, Sebastian Arnström.
The call for all to come to the listening table begins with “Curtain Call”, which springs ahead to the gallop and relenting exuberance on “Youth”. Sebastian’s production and arrangements send everything into a perpetual shimmering spin, with his brother Erik Klinga providing percussion, Mathias Zachrisson’s arpeggiated guitar strings, reinforced and retained by Maja Agnevik’s vocals and bass work from Wilhelm Magnusson. The crystallized chords and notes of extended days can be found on “The Capitol”, on to the freewheeling and wild roaming ode to “Wolf Girl”, and the comforting acoustic touch of soft feathered flights on “Sparrow”. School days and new days rising ride on the wings of “Fenix”, while “Automation” sends out an electronic finish on Sebastian’s arrangement of racing summer hearts.
The intrinsic truth and beauty bent of Simian Ghost is heard on the transcendent “Siren”, and continues in the upbeat arm-cradling embrace of “Crystalline Lovers Mind”, to the city lit good night graces of “No Dreams”. Which brings us to Youth‘s bonus tracks, like the synth-dotted dreams of never growing older than the stated and dated year of, “2012”. Fanning the flames and fires of the midnight sun further, “We Are Delinquent Gods” exudes a self-deified appointment, while Simian Ghost chases after the sea’s beckoning on “The Ocean Calling”. Applying the stethoscope to better understand languages of love on “Echoes in Your Heart”, the Swedish specters of aural light leave you with the passing guitar-strummed secrets, “Whisper In The Walls”. Join us for our conversation with Sebastian Arnström, immediately following this stream of Youth:
As both a visual and audio artist; which came first for you, and how do these two disparate mediums perhaps impact your songwriting?
I’ve always been a musician primarily, I wouldn’t call myself a visual artist really. I have always been involved in doing the graphics, videos and other visual output for the bands I’ve been working with though. I’m pretty decent at that kind of stuff.
What I’d really like to do is to work with movies, I studied cinema at the university after graduating from high school. My style of mixing and orchestrating music is based on a visual technique too. I never formally learned how to do that, music
theory, so I sort of imagine the different sounds as shapes and colors that affect each other when arranging. I would however attribute developing that work method more to doing drugs than visual artistry.
What have the experiences been like for you and the band from releasing your first album Infinite Traffic Everywhere, to the initial 2012 release of Youth, to Youth’s reissue now in an expanded edition?
The platform we have to get our music out there is expanding little by little, so that’s great! We work with really nice people too, we’ve always done exactly what we’ve wanted, with minimal interference from labels and such. In that way not so much have changed since our first recordings. Our albums are rehearsal space recordings basically.
Thoughts on how you have observed both your own creative evolution and that of Simian Ghost over the past years?
We’re all getting better at what we do, I think. Infinite Traffic Everywhere was the very first try at making and producing a record for me, it’s a bit all over the place as the title implies, but we’re slowly figuring out what it is we want to to and how we like to do it.
How do you all write, compose, and arrange music with these glittering, and glowing cadences? Is it a conscious consideration, or does it just spring forth naturally, and almost heedlessly?
The whole project started out more or less as electronic music, so there’s still a lot of programming involved. All that we do comes naturally to us, it’s the pictures we want to paint, however all sounds are carefully considered, so I guess it’s both ways.
Sweden has brought us some of the world’s top artists and groups from the heart-scribed songs of Jens Lekman, electro-nouveau of Ditt Inre, the new-gen world of Picture, the legend of Air France, etc. Who are some of the best kept indie secrets of underground Sweden today?
Us of course, we’re constantly overlooked. No but seriously, Munnen, Saigon, Sand Circles, Döden, No Coda and Yast are a few bands that’s great.
What else are you all writing, recording, and plotting?
I’m making a record in Swedish right now which may or may not come out sometime next year, and Mathias and Erik are working on an EP with their old band Light Vibes.
Simian Ghost’s re-issue of Youth is available now from Red Eye Transit.