Music to Weather the Storm
Malmö-based An Echoic personifies the uneasiness of tough times in “Bad Weather”, his first single of 2022. A nervous fast-tempo song that reminds you of freak-folk bands like Grizzly Bear, with Swedish verses sprinkled here and there like a self-interrogating monologue.
“This song is about going through, relating to, and dealing with deep and inevitable suffering.”, An Echoic explains. “It explores the experienced weakness and hopelessness of going through difficult phases, and especially those that seemingly appear out of nowhere.”
The fast-paced mood of the song doesn’t immediately evoke uneasy feelings. But this was exactly what An Echoic had in mind. “To me, the saddest songs aren’t all minor chords for instance.”
The second verse is fully written in his mother tongue. It has a more introspective tone than the rest of the song, describing changes like the loss of identity as a result of life’s biggest hardships.
“I think Swedish people feel like they must write in English to sound legit or reach a wider audience. My producer Andrew Feels convinced me that this is not at all so.”
The overarching topics of most of An Echoic’s music are personal identity and introspection. His two EPs “An Echoic EP” (2016) and “Headless Heathen” (2018) go beyond typical alt-folk expectations. Unconventional harmony and sound design are two of his recurrent themes.
“Bad Weather” will be released via Rexius Records on January 28th, part of a series of singles with similar aesthetics.
Cover art by Georgia Rose.
An Echoic’s music is one of those rare gems that encourage you to push beyond your usual listening habits, subtly taking notice of its quirky quality. What started as a solo experiment in 2016 after dropping out of jazz school became a solid artistic project for Martin Kihlstedt, Swedish singer-songwriter based in Canada. His style can remind you of Andy Shauf combined with Tame Impala’s early psychedelics, with a tendency towards experimental songwriting that you’d rather associate with Radiohead.
Just like Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen or Elliot Smith, An Echoic is not afraid to sing tales about the rough edges of existence. He tackles tough topics with the clinical curiosity of a shaman-philosopher: “I’m always intrigued when I hear stories told by people that have been through unimaginable things. So I wanted to write a story like that.”
The fascination for subtle musical quirkiness developed through years of playing and improvising since his early days in Sweden. He continued to craft this particular style while studying jazz for 2 years in Toronto, where he played and performed with various jazz, funk and blues ensembles.
During this time he also built artistic collaborations with visual artists, producers etc. that gave birth to An Echoic as a fully-formed project. His idea was to create a reflection of himself, rather than just ”a character”, writing music that encourages you to become an active listener. This kind of engagement is very related to the different aspects of introspection (like meditation and a kind of spirituality devoid of religion), which is a central motive for his songs.
Martin released An Echoic’s self-titled debut EP in 2016 and shortly thereafter signed to Rexius Records for his second EP: “Headless Heathen”. A chamber of thoughts in the form of experimental songwriting (recording spoken word and sampling traditional folk instruments, for example) and unimaginable stories.
“Bad Weather” will be released via Rexius Records on January 28th, part of his new series of singles with similar aesthetics.