Dungeon Electro Doom : Erik Enocksson’s ‘Apan’

I love those little moments in life that surprise you. Not like people jumping out of the closet yelling “Surprise!” at a birthday party. Surprises that the universe offers up every once in a while. Like, a bout of insomnia leads you to turn on the tube at 2am and stumble across a classic movie you never took the time to watch. Or on the recommendation of someone you pick up Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and your life is forever changed. Or hearing Blue Oyster Cult’s “In Thee” on a crappy classic rock station in your early 20s only to never figure out who it was till years later thanks to internet radio.

It’s the little nudges into the ether that give me the greatest joy. Like for example last week on my Instagram feed, a fellow I hold in high regard posted a picture of an album and talked about it being all woozy synth and I immediately looked the name up. The name was Erik Enocksson. Enocksson is a Swedish film composer and the album of his was 2011’s Apan.

According to the articles I could find, Enocksson wrote the album as a score for a film of the same name by filmmaker Jesper Ganslandt. After the film was finished both artists realized the film was better with no score, so Enocksson released the album under his own name in 2011. The record was a limited run release and quickly went out of print. But then in 2015 label Posh Isolation reissued the score and the rest is history

After hearing just a couple snippets of the album online I knew I had to have it, so thanks to Discogs I snagged a copy of the reissue, which just arrived today.

Apan is a short album, but every bit of its 30 minutes counts. Consisting of seven tracks, this is the kind of synthesizer music that is all-encompassing. If you’re a fan of the darker, more melancholy bits of the Dixon/Stein work in Stranger Things then this record is for you. It’s doom-laden synth, covered in cobwebs, sadness, and cold like cobblestone walls. I listen to this album and I imagine cellars that seem to go for infinity. Candles wavering in the distance, mirroring darkness back at you. It’s reminiscent of the sparse synth touches from horror films of the 70s. The macabre sounds of bitter ghosts haunting the laughs of the living. Lucifer Rising comes to mind, as does the Jodorowsky’s Dune S/T.

At times cosmic, other times baroque in nature, Enocksson locks into the subtlety of the melancholy mind. Someone described this album as “an electronic take on doom metal”, and I couldn’t agree more. It feels dense and dark, like some Scandinavian woods with dark secrets to tell. All you have to do is venture inside of them and find what waits. It puts me in mind of recent scores to Mandy, Color Out Of Space, and Hereditary. Scores as dark, dense, and intense as the films they scored. It’s an album I will be spinning for years to come.

It’s those little surprises the universe leaves at your feet when you least expect them. Those are the best surprises. Apan was one of those serendipitous musical gifts the world will occasionally offer up. In a year like 2020, I’ll take all the serendipitous surprises I can get.

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