One of the great musical surprises of the year has been Stund from Skragn. Skragn is the name electronic musician Marco Egeberg has given his debut solo music project, one of possibly many more different projects with different names to come. But for now, we’ll concentrate on the present and not the future.
Skragn’s debut Stund is a stunning work of retro futurism. It sounds and plays like some lost work of electronic music from the early 1980s. All analog synths and drum machines breathe life into songs composed as if they were scoring some lost Michael Mann film. Part Tangerine Dream, part Kraftwerk, and all moody contemplation. You get the feel of finding some lost album tucked away in a German studio for 35 years, only to discover one of the great treasures of the neon decade.
Marco Egeberg plays guitar in the ambient, singer/songwriter band Bonne Nuit Johnny. But over the last few years when the Copenhagen-by-way-of-Odense-based musician had time, he’d disappear into his home studio and work on the tracks that would make up his debut Stund. Dark, intimate electronic compositions that work together to make what feels like a lost classic. New recordings that sound well-aged and as if you’ve lived with them all your life.
The album opens on the widescreen “Tur”. The sonic world Egeberg is working in plays well in the dark and the light, bringing German electronic musician and synth builder Rudiger Lorenz to mind. The music walks the line between Dystopian soundtrack and dark synth pop. It’s truly stunning. “Skakt” builds on what came before it, adding intricate 80s percussive notes and an air of S U R V I V E into the dark melodic leanings here. Besides the Austin synth collective, Skragn also brings to mind heavy synth contemporaries Jake Schrock and Hunter Complex.
Elsewhere title track “Stund” works on a visceral level as melancholy melodies interplay over ancient drum machine rhythms. The instrumental nature of the album as a whole allows the listener’s mind to wander and build our own narratives to get lost in. “Kontinuum” is dark and engaging like the best of Tangerine Dream’s 80s film work, while album closer “Enghave” builds on a slow and meticulous electro groove as the synths ebb and flow beautifully.
Marco Egeberg is part of a small but rich community of electronic musicians that work in a very specific sonic world, one where the music of the 80s wasn’t all bright colors and dance floor excursions. Instead, the music moved you in a different way. It’s the sort of music that made its way into commercials, films, radio dials, and for some of us our very DNA. Skragn’s Stund isn’t nostalgia, but it does work on an emotionally visceral level. For some, it’s going to press all the right buttons. For the rest, you will be surprised where this gorgeous album takes you.
8.4 out of 10