It should be no shock to anybody that I am a huge fan of all things Scandinavian. A cultural love affair that began with my first visit to the beautiful city of Stockholm nearly fifteen years ago and continued through the constant devouring of Nordic cinema, television, books, music and even cuisine (falukorv and vasterbotten ftw!).
In 2017, I was invited to collaborate on some sound design for season four of one of Scandinavia’s most successful TV series, The Bridge. I had been a fan of the series since it was first broadcast on BBC4 back in 2012, so the opportunity to be a part of this project and work with such talented composers as Uno Helmersson, Patrik Andren and Johan Soderqvist was a remarkable moment for me. It has also lead to me working on further Scandinavian projects.
As I’m writing this post, I should be doing it from a new home in Stockholm. Back in February of this year, I was all set to fly out to Sweden’s capital to take the first steps in starting a new life for my family there; with meetings arranged with estate agents, schools and music industry friends. Alas, first the violent storms barracking northern Europe lead to the cancellation of several flights and then, when trying to organise a fresh trip, much of the world went into lockdown due to coronavirus. Our plans were postponed.
However, such disappointment has been dissipated somewhat by my continued enjoyment of Nordic culture – new TV series, new music and new foods to try – in anticipation of once more being able to plan to flee the UK, hopefully in 2021.
Dusk, as the title suggests, is designed for those long, dark nights, where the image of the clean, organised and polished exterior of Scandinavia is consumed by the melancholy and morbid, criminal thoughts within. Gritty and grainy, contemporary analogue sounds reveal an ominous heart; a bleak world behind the suburban facade, revealing itself to our world-weary detective and any other poor unfortunates who manage to get mixed up in the mayhem and murder.
Snow, in equally eponymous style, delivers a desolate, cold landscape; icy and awesome, hiding terrible secrets and sinister pasts, once thought buried but, waiting, watching, to be rediscovered and unravelled in grim detail. Glassy, delicate synths and physically-modelled instruments guide us through the achingly white, barren panoramas, littered with frozen lakes, dense forests and deadly intentions.
As well as re-consuming Nordic Noir classics such as The Killing, The Bridge, Beck, Trapped and both versions of Wallander, I’ve been inspired on these soundsets by new series such as Rebekah Martinsson, Below the Surface, Blue Eyes and Stockholm Requiem. You can also hear some of my favourite music from these series over on my new Nordsund Spotify playlists.
And there’s still tons more to watch, so don’t be surprised to see a Nordsund III in the future!