Limited LP : Transparent Aqua Vinyl
“From horseback to spaceship. With folky melodies in a stream of the humming sounds of insects.” Ola Sandberg, Den Osynliga Manteln.
Den Osynliga Manteln is Swedish for the invisible cloak. The fabric doesn’t hide the one who wears it but is itself impossible to spot unless you know it’s there. It’s an item that bridges fantasy and science fiction, the tales from long ago and the distant future. It’s nostalgic and futuristic. It’s slightly playful as well.
Den Osynliga Manteln is not only the name of this outfit but is descriptive of the music too. There are two parts to Den Osynliga Manteln, Ola Sandberg and Fredrik Grönvall. Both Ola and Fredrik were born and raised in southern Sweden and are currently living in Malmö. Ola takes up the story:
“We first met a couple of years ago when an old friend of mine brought me with him to play guitar with a band he was in called KLANG. Fredrik was part of this band as well, playing the organ, some keys and a bit of flute.
“I joined the band for a few live shows and recordings playing guitar, synthesizer and saxophone. After around a year KLANG sort of halted to a stop and me and Fredrik started playing together. I moved my studio into a little kitchen in the rehearsal space Fredrik was sharing with some other friends and we have stayed there since. This is the we started making music together as Den Osynliga Manteln.”
Fredrik has a background making hiphop beats, playing tonewheel organ (influenced by Bo Hansson), flute, synthesizers and percussion. He works at a small town post office delivering mail across the beautiful countryside of southeastern Sweden where encounters with wild animals such as red deer are not uncommon.
Ola has been studying music since childhood and has just completed a masters degree in music production at The Royal Collage of Music in Stockholm. He plays guitar, piano, synthesizers, modular synthesizers, bass, drums, saxophone and percussion. Ola also takes care of the recording, mixing and engineering for the duo. He’s released two albums under various names in Sweden and has had sound installations exhibited in Sweden and Canada. He’s also made music for a few short films and has designed and made several music apps for smartphone and tablet.
Ola describes the magical world of “Inseksfolk”:
“Insektsfolk (or insect folk in English) could refer to a sort of insect people but it could also be a musical genre where folk music and insects merge. There’s a meeting of fantasy and science fiction here. The insect is a classic inspiration for sci-fi but it’s present in old sagas as well. To us it’s describing the way the record sounds - a tale from horseback to spaceship. With folky melodies in a stream of the humming sounds of insects.
“The titles of the record are made up insect names for made up insects. This is again in the theme of fantasy/sci-fi where a common insect like the sowbug (gråsugga in Swedish) is transformed to “Silversugga”. In Swedish grå means grey so we’ve given it an upgrade to silver. This is the case for every track name of this album!
“This record was made over a year, from the spring of 2019 to the spring of 2020. Written and recorded in the kitchen by us. We play everything ourselves and we knew we wanted to make a record so the songs were created with that in mind. This way they are made to complement each other, like the chapters of a book. In that manner we wanted it to be a sort of journey or tale for the listener to embark upon.
“Fredrik plays organ, flute, percussion and synthesizers. I play drums, guitar, organ, synthesizers, modular synthesizer, bass, saxophone, percussion and piano. I was the recording and mixing engineer for Insektsfolk in Malmö and Hans Olsson mastered it at Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg.”
“Insektsfolk” is presented by Castles in Space as a heavyweight vinyl pressing in a beautiful heavy card sleeve painted by Eddie Karlsson.