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A Strangeness In Motion (Early Pop Recordings 1989-1999) (Blue Vinyl)

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As a visual artist and ambient composer, Tor Lundvall’s work often recontextualizes the familiarity of everyday life through abstraction and space. Starting with the snapshot of a moment, Lundvall extracts its underlying complexity of the seemingly mundane and gives sleeping suggestion a presence and purpose. Mainly working sans vocals, Lundvall returned to voice exploration for 2018’s A Dark Place, a somber, dark synth album that merged his mastery of textural ambience with traditional pop structures.

Rescued from old DAT tapes A Strangeness In Motion: Early Pop Recordings 1989-1999 are some of Lundvall’s earliest completed synth pop works which have remained unreleased until now.

Though Lundvall’s work throughout the collection has the recognizable ambient bones and sensibilities he has refined throughout his career, many of the tracks call back to the synth-driven pop of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, The Human League and New Order, with the common thread being the sparse density and mood created by reservation and the lonely impulse to twist convention, not to rip it up and repurpose it. Rather than 10 disparate ideas, Lundvall’s curation of A Strangeness In Motion: Early Pop Recordings 1989-1999 feels like excerpts from a broader work, allowing the listener to fill in the holes and ladder up to his larger themes and concepts, perhaps coloring his prior works in new hues and tones.

“For years I dismissed these songs as naive and youthful relics, but I’ve grown much fonder of them in recent years along with the memories they evoke,” he says of the decade spanning collection of tracks, many of which were sketched out in his duo with Drew Sullivan, After The Outing. “Original One”, “Procession Day”, “The Clearing”, and “The Melting Hour” are present here as solo reworkings, originally culled from his sessions with Sullivan. The remaining songs were ideas originally considered for Passing Through Alone (1997) and its proposed follow up, provisionally and playfully titled Femalamania.

“The title was summing up my girl problems at the time and also a silly word spin on Robyn Hitchcock's Fegmania!” he says. “Sadly, the project was abandoned—a rare decision for me and perhaps the only time I've scrapped an album entirely.”

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