A Lantern and a Bell

Loney dear

Released 26 March 2021

  1. Mute / All things pass
  2. Habibi (A clear black line)
  3. Trifles
  4. Go Easy on Me Now (Sirens + emergencies)
  5. Last night / Centurial Procedures (the 1900s)
  6. Oppenheimer
  7. Darling
  8. Interval / Repeat
  9. A House and a Fire

Liner notes

Sea birds, distorted noise, and then the line “Mighty ships hung over ground” — the marine theme not only begins but makes its mark throughout the entirety of A Lantern and a Bell, the first album from Loney dear since 2017, released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records label.

The soundscape, with Emil Svanängen’s unmistakable falsetto at the very front of the mix, is extremely stripped down. Strictly musically, one could describe the music as sublime sacred minimalism, but just as much, it’s a story about the trust and friendship that has developed between Emil and producer Emanuel Lundgren in their mythical studio on western Södermalm in Stockholm.

“The goal was for Emil not to hide, but to dare to come forward,” says Emanuel. “We have slowly become friends for nine years, but only now could we work so closely together, and the proximity is heard.”

“It has taken me a while to dare to surrender,” says Emil. “My previous albums have been ‘collage records’, made in the belief that perfectionism exists, in a mania. Here I wanted to go in exactly the opposite direction and simplify. That’s why we recorded everything ourselves without any other musicians.”

Loney dear - Trifles (Official Video)

The album clocks in at 27 minutes and 45 seconds — like a tautly plotted half-hour tv drama — and was recorded in just six months. To Emil’s voice, usually only a compliant piano, a discreet double bass, occasional chords, and diffused water sounds, at dark low frequencies, pulsating from below unknown depths, recorded under high pressure. The compositions themselves are seemingly simple, very easily accessible harmonically, but all the more provocatively existentially, not least the album’s perhaps strongest moment, the veritable test of strength ‘Go Easy On Me Now’.

“When the work on this album started, I was feeling quite low, I had changed, half my life had changed. I ended up in a really bad place, a state of despair,” says Emil. “And then we record this, and it’s easily the best thing we’ve done, with songs filled with laughter and darkness about each other. In a way, the whole album is probably a story about losing your temper.”

Emil Svanängen. Photo credit: Daniel Grizelj

For those who know their Loney dear, the constant references to sea and ships are hardly something new. “All that is an important part of my inner life, maybe a romantic dream of adventure, but also a phobia, a danger I cannot help but be drawn to. Near where I live, freighters pass by every day and the sounds of their engines get into my head. And further into the music.”

A Lantern and a Bell will be released on 26 March, 2021. The waves from the cargo ships hit the island’s shores, over and over again.

Words by Jerker Virdborg

Photo credit: Kristofer Samuelsson

Reviews

  • The simple romanticism of A Lantern And A Bell’s minor-key piano chords showcase Svanangen’s enviable melodic gifts. Uncut
  • Simple arrangements — just his warm falsetto and piano, with water sounds and seabirds passing overhead — foster a reflective, bonfire-on-the-beach spirit. MOJO
  • Trifles builds into an album highlight, the perfect song for newcomers to discover Loney Dear’s magic. The Sunday Times
  • A minimalist classic. Louder Than War
  • A welcome return from an artisan of elegant understatement. Record Collector
  • It develops and grows with each listen; [to] gradually seep through the skin and saturate the heart. Secret Meeting
  • If, in the midst of your otherwise hectic day-to-day life, you can find a spare half hour I would recommend you spend it listening to A Lantern and a Bell, the latest album from Loney dear. I can guarantee you that it will be time well spent… half an hour of deeply atmospheric and often quite exultant music. God is in the TV

Credits

Produced by Emanuel Lundgren and Emil Svanängen
Performed and recorded by Emil Svanängen and Emanuel Lundgren at Jehander 2
Music and lyrics by Emil Svanängen. Lyrics on ‘Habibi (A clear black line)’ by Agnes Fries / Emil Svanängen
Mixed by Tchad Blake at Full Mongrel Studios
Sounding Board: Peter Gabriel

Additional musicians: Mattias Ståhl (marimba and vibraphone on ‘Mute’ and ‘Oppenheimer’) and Konrad Agnas (Percussion on ‘Oppenheimer’)
Piano engineer: Anton Sundell Piano tuner: Carl Wahren.

Mastered by Björn Engelman at Cutting Room

All songs published by Universal Music Publishing AB, except ‘Habibi (A clear black line)’: Universal Music Publishing AB / Copyright Control

Flag photography: Kristofer Samuelsson. Portrait photography: Daniel Grizelj
Art direction: Emanuel Lundgren. Layout: Marc Bessant
Management: Dimberg Jernberg Management
Live representation: Headstomp AB

Thank you: Peter Gabriel. Tchad Blake. Amanda. Oran. Matt. Sophie. Marc. Marie and Tomas and Liza at Dimberg Jernberg management. Ella Petersson, Morgan och Monika. Daniel Lindlöf. Jerker Virdborg. Frida Öhnell. Jonas Holst. André Brink. All at Universal Publishing. Klas Lunding, Agnes Fries, Per Wikström. Greg and Deb Vegas. Klabbe Hörngren. Mattias Engwall. Pea. Emy. Fredrik Jansson. Wadensten. Nico Muhly. Filiph Antonsson. Sean Carey. Jonas Åberg. David Lindvall, Malin Ståhlberg, Samuel Starck, Ola Winkler, Erika and Simon. Palle Sollinger. Anton Sundell, Thomas Backman, Christopher Cantillo, Nils Berg, Josef Kallerdahl, Oscar Svenningsson, Johan Graden, Josefin Runsteen, Per Texas, Konrad Agnas, Johan Lindström, Oskar Schönning, Emil Strandberg, Rebecka Törnqvist. Sebastian Forslund. Toffe. Hinken. Mats Bjerde. Fredrik Wallstedt. Kusin Nina, Helena och Erika.

And thank you Emanuel.

Further Listening

  • Loney dear

    Loney dear

    Released 27 September 2017

    On his seventh album and first for Real World, Loney dear's Emil Svanängen has undergone something of a rebirth, and a profound artistic awakening. He sees this collection of songs as the beginning of something very new and very potent.
  • Anian

    9Bach

    Released 28 April 2016

    ‘Anian’ is 9Bach's third album. Like 2014's ‘Tincian’ it begins in North Wales, but broadens out through Greek and Near Eastern influences into an emotional tour de force. Angry, sad, but most of all passionate at the state of the world, the album taps into a truly universal language.

Further reading

A Lantern and a Bell by Loney dear out today

A Lantern and a Bell is the eighth studio album by Emil Svanängen, a.k.a. Loney dear.

‘Panter’ by Montparnasse Musique released on new imprint, Real World X

'Panter' combines the acoustic grit of traditional Africa with the pulse of modern Johannesburg.

Track of the Day: ‘Mustt Mustt’ by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Taking an in-depth look at the Qawwali singer's most loved song.

A Lantern and a Bell: Track by Track

Emil Svanängen a.k.a. Loney dear and producer Emanuel Lundgren discuss the new album.