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Loney-dear

Swedish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emil Svanängen makes records and plays shows under the enigmatic name of Loney dear. In the early 2000s, in his Stockholm apartment studio, Svanängen made a name for himself by creating homemade CDRs with a minidisk microphone and a home computer, self-releasing albums which by 2007 had pricked Sub Pop’s ears and they released Loney Noir. Two more albums - Dear John and Hall Music - followed, as did glowing reviews in The Guardian, BBC, Drowned in Sound, Pitchfork and earlier this year the Line of Best Fit went as far as calling him a "brilliant genius".

Background to the project

Loney dear has consistently crafted elegant, deeply stirring music, described by The Quietus as ”…the obsessive work of one man, albeit one that can sing with the vulnerable delicacy of an angel and makes bedroom recordings that sound like God's own orchestra”. Multi-layered with instrumentation and Svanängen’s fragile yet irrepressible vocals, Loney dear’s songs bloom with a sense of both intimacy and openness, at once uplifting and heartbreaking, tenacious yet tender.

A self-confessed perfectionist, Svanängen has thought long and hard about the longevity of his creations. In fact he sculpts them with this in mind, to make them almost indestructible, tireless pieces of art. "I have crafted these songs so that I hope I will never get sick of them myself. They are built for endurance. I have listened to them so much and I always plan for the music to live longer than I do."

In 2017 Svanängen finds himself at something of a crossroads. His career, in many ways, has been as unique as his music. "I've been taking some strange roads. Basically, I have a really strange career and I have no idea where it's going. Everything is always random because my career is so small and slow. I have had to learn to enjoy all the randomness of what I’m doing." New sides of Svanängen are emerging in various areas beyond music too. When creating a video for recent single Humbug - involving numerous copyrighted images in a politically-themed response to an arms trade deal in Sweden - he began to experiment with the unreliable narrator. "I really like the tone we created there because it was the first time I was able to convey the feeling of don't trust Emil, like I want to present a little bit of uncertainty with myself. I don't want to be the artist that you'd want to buy a car from."

Often unhelpfully described as indie pop (when in fact the music has always been more multifaceted and intricate than that genre suggests) this new album looks set to squash such binary comparisons. "There is a certain new blackness in the music," Svanängen says. "I have learned to make my inner darkness more visible to people because I don't want to seem lighter than I am.” Svanängen feels that whilst this transition is not yet over, he has clambered over the hump. "There have been terrible situations, I have found dark paths inside, I have learned about myself, I have discovered music, my artistry, my pros and cons. I must learn how to live without wanting to give up."

Whilst inspired by the likes of the inimitable Nina Simone, the new, and darker, album is a creation that feels as difficult as it does futile to pigeonhole. However, for those who enjoy the stripped back intimacy and compositional brilliance of Bon Iver, complete with flashes of John Grant’s more electronic work and sprinkles of Brian Eno’s production work - plus hidden flutters of jazz rhythms and subtle nods to Elton John - then this is an album that has moments of all, alongside being very much its own singular creation

After all these years in the music industry, Svanängen has reached a stage in which he is not striving to be loved, to be big, to be recognised or feels that he is deserving of more than he has. Above all, he feels emboldened and powerful simply by the new music he is making, as featured on his latest album. "I’m moving into a more bold state, I’m confident, powerful, I became a singer, I learned my darkness and discovered my magnetism".

'Loney dear is a wonderful talent. For me he's Europe’s answer to Brian Wilson. We’re delighted he's joining the Real World.' Peter Gabriel July 2017.

Society of Sound members download the album here

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