In just a few years, Swedish producer Jonas Rönnberg has managed to get quite a bit of recognition for his work under the name Varg. With a constantly growing catalog with releases for Posh Isolation, Ascetic House, his own imprint Northern Electronics (co-run with Abdulla Rashim), and many more, he has become one of the most prolific ambient techno artists nowadays.
When it comes down to such prolific artists, I have a hard time actually starting listening. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid that my OCD will kick in and I’ll have to scout and listen to everything, or maybe I just have a feeling quantity sometimes overcomes quality. That’s why I had Varg in my to-listen-to list for a while, but just as I started digging deeper into his discography, Posh Isolation hit me up with his brand new triple-tape release, Nordic Flora Pt. 2, En Ros Röd Som Blod.
If you know Varg’s work already, you won’t be too surprised by what you’ll find in this album. Thankfully, you won’t be disappointed either. Polished and sparse ambient passages evolve into pieces or lead us into 4/4-based techno-ish tracks. Loops occasionally get stuck in a buildup that never climaxes and instead leave nearly random field recordings play with our imagination. Across the tapes are scattered beautiful synth-based atmospheric pieces like ‘Kvarteret Helvetet, En Tulipan Blå som Blod’ and ‘Charm’, but the way they are arranged in the tracklist among other, more rhythmic pieces feels quite chaotic. I have a difficult time chasing a certain thread in the record. It’s a certain story—something that can help me justify a 3xtape release with so much good music that on the other side needs a bit more of a push to become something more of a compilation.
Or maybe it’s because I generally approached the release in the wrong way. Observed as random glances into the, well… Nordic flora, it does make sense. But when dedicating a time to experience a double, or in this case, a triple record, I always look for something more. What I’m sure about, however, is that I truly dig Nordic Flora Pt. 2, En Ros Röd Som Blod because of the two closing tracks where Varg places his techno ambient template aside, which we already know he’s mastered, and replaces it with something we didn’t see coming. On the B side of the final tape, Varg offers up two tracks of free-jazz drumming and thick and violent pads that hide distant melodies. This is definitely a highlight of the record, and I hope it’s not simply a random idea but a hint of what’s yet to come.
By the time I finished writing, this the third volume of Varg’s Nordic Flora series was announced by Northern Electronics. The album is due to be released as a double-LP and will feature six collaborative tracks with artists like Drew McDowall, Alessandro Cortini, Matti Bye, Yung Lean, and AnnaMelina.
A1) En ros röd some blod
B1) Salem I
B2) En Tulpan Blå Som Blod
C1) Kvarteret Helvetet
D1) Inga Droger / Ingen Parfym
E1) Under Kestanjen
F2) Salem II