Molnbär Av John: I Wish I Could Draw Her Nose
Tona Serenad

Anne Laplantine: Spring Won't Find Us
Tona Serenad

How could one not love these two mini-releases by Molnbär av John and Anne Laplantine when each arrives in a seven-inch vinyl format and packaged in a lovely full-colour sleeve? Tona Serenad clearly understands that appealing to one's visual and auditory senses enhances one's total experience of the work in question.

Anne Laplantine's Spring Won't Find Us includes four vocal-based electro-pop songs that sound like vignettes emanating from the Magic Transistor Radio Brian Wilson famously described in Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale), the bonus EP issued as part of The Beach Boys' 1973 album Holland. The title track of Laplantine's release opens the release with a beguiling electro-pop lullaby with her echo-laden vocal emerging from a music box-like arrangement of sparkling sounds and sing-song melodies, after which “The River” opts for a swaying waltz time signature. On the B side, the instrumental “Maybe” features Laplantine's quivering voice shadowing a lightly swinging electro-lounge blend of keyboards, drums, and guitars, while “You So Lonely”  finds her repeated utterance of the title casting a melancholy glow upon the song's downtempo lull.

That the cover photo of I Wish I Could Draw Her Nose includes an old-fashioned turntable is telling as much of its twelve minutes sound like bits and pieces resurrected from long-forgotten library archives of scratched vinyl discs and dictaphone recordings. John Henriksson (aka Molnbär av John) stitches chopped fragments of whistling themes, a torch singer's emotive vocalizing (of the title), vibes, organ, and orchestral sounds into a twelve-minute (obviously split in half by the vinyl presentation) plunderphonic sound collage of equally demented and nostalgic character. There's a hint of Philip Jeck in the material's woozy fluctuations and gouged vinyl crackle but I Wish I Could Draw Her Nose charts its own wormhole path in its evocation of half-remembered and half-imagined eras past. Both releases, incidentally, are available in limited editions of 300 so act fast if you're interested.

January 2010