thu 19/09/2019

Sweden

CD: Tove Lo - Sunshine Kitty

Swedish singer Tove Lo appeared at a time when female physical sexuality was being used as a raw, blunt weapon in pop, when porno chic reached an apex in music videos. Half a decade ago was the time of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” and Miley Cyrus’s “...

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theartsdesk in Dalarna: Rhinegold in a Swedish barn by a lake

Anna Larsson's fellow Swedes can count themselves lucky that the worldwide first choice to sing Wagner's Erda and the midnight song in Mahler's Third Symphony has made so much of her Dalarna inheritance. In what's called a "Concert Barn" (...

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Midsommar review - hell is other people

Who would have thought that Ari Aster could top the satanic delights of Hereditary? Yet with Midsommar, a psychedelic twist on folk horror, he has. Aster abandons the supernatural to show that it’s not things that go bump in the night that scare us...

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The Captor review - Stockholm syndrome silliness

The botched 1973 hostage incident which inspired the term Stockholm syndrome comes to flatly comic life here, the strange psychological phenomenon of captives falling for their captors over time being reduced to an absurd caper. Bringing out the...

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CD: Avicii - TIM

Sadness abounds in Avicii's posthumous third album. In context, even the plaintive single syllable of the title is full of pathos. It reminds of the real person, the Swede Tim Bergling who as a teenager discovered he had an unerring ability to hit...

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theartsdesk in Gothenburg: concert-hall storytelling rivets at the Point Music Festival

There was a special celebratory aura to the start of Swedish city Gothenburg's first Point Festival. Earlier in the week its Symphony Orchestra's Chief Conductor, electrifying Finn Santtu-Matias Rouvali, had not only announced a renewed contract...

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CD: Amon Amarth - Berserker

Many groups have based their career focusing almost completely on one thing and evermore honing it. Bands ranging from The Ramones to the Cocteau Twins to the Black Keys to even the Foo Fighters could arguably be said to follow this remit. Swedish...

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CD: Kornél Kovács - Stockholm Marathon

On his second album, Swedish star DJ Kornél Kovács has achieved the impossible and made “tropical house” interesting. Somehow, he's taken every cliché of that slow, lilting pop dance sound Drake and lifestyle influencers Instagramming from pristine...

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Obituary: Bibi Andersson 1935-2019

"One talks, the other doesn’t" is about as crude a description as could be of the Swedish masterpiece, Persona. Profoundly experimental even today, Ingmar Bergman’s film was at base about the intense, vampiric encounter between a mute actress...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Bergman - A Year in a Life

1957 was a busy year for a very busy director: Ingmar Bergman made two of his most famous films – The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, several TV dramas, and a number of major stage productions. All the while, he was suffering from painful...

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Border review - genre-defying Oscar-nominated Swedish film

This might just be the most challenging film review I’ve had to write in decades. The best thing would be to go and see Border knowing nothing more than that it won the prize for most innovative film at Cannes. Don't watch the trailer, and...

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Un ballo in maschera, Welsh National Opera review - opera as brilliant self-parody

Why is Un Ballo in maschera not as popular as the trio of Verdi masterpieces – Rigoletto, Traviata, Trovatore – that, with a couple of digressions, preceded it in the early 1850s? Its music is scarcely less brilliant than theirs, and if its plot is...

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