Artist: Daniel Ögren
Album: Laponia III
Label: Sing a song fighter
Release Date: 28/01/2022
Here’s something a little different that I happened to stumble across and fall in love with. I present Daniel Ögren’s album Laponia III, released on Sing a song fighter on January 28th. Swedish artist Daniel Ögren of Dina Ögon and Sven Wunder shares with the world his solo release with a highly personal theme.
The album focuses on Sweden’s Laponia. For those who don’t know this is in the northern part of the country in an area called Lapland that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The artists states that:
“The summer of 2021 I traveled with my family to the northern parts of Sweden. I wanted them to experience the wild, windblown nature where I used to spend my childhood summers. When I saw my kids play by the very same streams, rocks and trees I played by as a child – the songs started to emerge. I wanted to honor my grandmother and her heritage by using the names of places given to them by the Sámi people.”
With that understanding the album takes on a far deeper meaning and really starts to feel personal but also fully accessible to the wider world. This is Daniel sharing his identity and that of his country with the world and allowing them a glimpse into his connection to a land of true beauty and historical and cultural importance.
As the album’s Bandcamp states it fuses elements of South American folk, soul, Nordic folk, psychedelic pop, obscure soundtracks and improvisations and more. I also definitely feel some post-rock elements in the mix. The combination of these elements gives the album a truly diverse feeling and yet somehow keeps it feeling connected and naturally flowing. Each song stands uniquely on its own and works as part of the larger album as a whole.
Musically this is a journey and each part of it draws on different elements and has a different tone and energy to it. Some tracks such as Danjás are truly beautiful and highly relaxing, almost feeling ethereal in nature. Others though such as Midnattssol are upbeat, soulful and quirky and generally happen to be a lot of fun to listen to. These two happen to be some of my favourites on the album. I also have to give praise to Vinter for being a generally fantastic piece of music that features not only some truly spacey textures, but also some captivating somewhat psychedelic guitar work.
The closing track Bortglömt is a unique listening experience all on its own. It runs for almost 13 minutes and takes things in a vastly different direction to the rest of the album. There’s a portion of this song with a truly chaotic and intense energy, which sits in stark contrast with the rest of the album. This is achieved through the excessive use of percussion. On either side of this segment though are relaxed, moving instrumental segments that balance out the track as a whole and draw the album to a perfect close.
Overall, I truly enjoyed Laponia III from start to finish. This was my first introduction to Daniel Ögren’s music and has opened a rabbit hole for me to fall down looking into his career and other projects. While I’ve never been to Laponia, his depiction of the spirit of the place through music makes me feel as if I must at some point in this lifetime. If you enjoy good music as a whole, then I recommend listening to this album.
Listen to and order the album: