My first recordings were on an old tape recorder in my childhood bedroom. I spent a lot of time with that machine. Listening to the radio and pressing the green and red buttons when something I liked came on. And I seemed to have liked a lot. One tape I still have, from when I was about 6, contains an eclectic aural tapestry filled with fragments from all kinds of music. And then, in the middle of some
hit song, my own singing and chatting appears.
My fascination with the machine grew and I soon began to record interviews with family, friends, and neighbors. Even random people passing in the streets. I also started recording my own songs in a more organized way, on separate cassettes labeled ‘My songs’. At around 9 years of age I recorded ‘Stars in Space’. I remember it very clearly. I’d written the lyrics in English, and the recording contained various sound effects I’d added while singing, such as rhythmically stomping in gravel. The first line went: Space is a big black world, full of fire, we call them staaaaars – Stars in space, in space, in space, in space… Looking back on these memories, I can safely say that not much has changed.
The media might be different, but the recording machine is still my favorite toy. Voice and ambient sounds are still my main material. And the human experience in this mesmerizing, communicating universe, is still my topic of choice.
It could be that the mystics are right. Maybe we are indeed asked when entering this world what cause we are willing to live and, ultimately, die for. What call to adventure is strong enough to pull us away from the heavens and right back down to a risky planet. If so, my guess is that I replied: communication.
Specifically, all of the many folded forms of communication between the various elements that abound within this curious world. The sounds, emotions,
physicalities and manifestations. And of course, music. This being one of the most inclusive forms of communication I know, and the one that I relate to
most naturally and with most delight. Whether the mystics are right or not, here I am. On this earth. At this moment. Dedicated to be in communication.
I’ve studied music, performing arts, literature and religion. I’ve played in bands, written pieces for choir, eam, even chamber music, but my main focus
has been contemporary musical dramas. With the emphasis on the music. Seldom has any existing, conventional spoken language been involved in my
own performance work. I let the sounds that appeared themselves form word-like elements. That way I felt the receptors of communications stayed more
open and creative, and less limited to the fixed categories that language generates. And this is important to me, as I have always strived to make my music
accessible, welcoming and inclusive on that level.
In my work that has been produced in collaboration with others, conventional languages have been used more often. There are specific stories to be told
at times. I certainly can find that most intriguing myself, even if my fascination for the phenomena of communication itself seems to be my infatuation.
For me, recording is hence part of a playful process rather than merely a way to present my work to the public. I play, rehearse and improvise with others;
tinker with the material; and then finally perform it, almost always live but with electronic elements. Many of my musical projects were therefore never
recorded seriously, if at all, for public consumption. And of those that were, the process was rarely initiated by me.
As such, the material that Dark Companion now presents on this recording, with bits and pieces of work created over the past 20 years or so, has almost
all been captured by those with more foresight than me. I owe you all my deepest gratitude (Dark Companion very much included).
During recent years I haven’t made so much music as I’ve been deeply involved with academic studies, in addition to running a cultural center that supported
the role of music and other artistic and socio-cultural expressions within my local community.
Max and Dark Companion have been very supportive and understanding of the fact that the new music that lives within me has yet to find the time and
space to materialize in any presentable way. In the meantime, they suggested this compilation. What a gift. Thank you.
Jeanette Sollén, September 2018
As often happens, I stumbled upon the music and art of Jeanette purely by chance. At the time, I was only a music critic and journalist. I immediately
contacted her, and shortly after interviewed her for the Italian magazine Rockerilla. I was very surprised no one was publishing her amazing music.
Jeanette and I eventually met for dinner at my place, and we had a wonderful evening exchanging ideas. She gave me her only self-released cd as
well as many unreleased pieces, spanning roughly twenty years of music. These pieces were written mainly for plays and scores. When I started
Dark Companion Records in 2015, I commissioned Jeanette to write an album for our label. While she is working on this new project, Annie and I
had the idea of collecting some of her past works into this album. Her music still amazes me. What terrific musical skill she has. In Jeanette’s music
I hear many artists who have influenced her from the seminal work of Meredith Monk to minimalism, postmodern classical, Darmstadt school and
progressive rock. I hope this first release will bring her the broader audience which she absolutely deserves. So I hope this record will bring you the
same joy as I feel when I hear those time-suspending northern realm voices, hyper-cubistic visionary saxophones, and overgrown icy zithers whose
sound still lingers in my ears.
Max Marchin, June 2018