Peel away your inhibitions and join Norwegian electronic artist Ellen Sunde aka Sea Change as she navigates a personal metamorphosis on her new album, Inside. Alongside co-producer and mixer Andrew Murray, Sunde has crafted seven ethereal sounding, club-inspired tracks that make her sound like she could be the introverted distant relation of Fever Ray.
Eponymous track ‘Inside’ may be brief, but in the space of two minutes Sunde outlines the direction of her album. Sparse synth sounds and hyper-conscious, introverted lyrics – “Come with me inside / my skin feels too tight” – alert listeners to the beginning of her journey towards breaking out of her shell. This idea is taken to a different level on following track ‘Stepping Out’. Through a fusion of disjointed beats and atmospheric synth textures, Sunde navigates the idea of transforming into an animal.
“Let me possess you / Let me destroy you” she delicately threatens on ‘Something Else’, a captivating four minutes of altruistic synth patterns and soft, reverb-strewn vocals. A quiet anger permeates following track ‘Scratch That Itch’, with the opening percussive clicks acting as a subtle nod to the itch in the song’s title. Sunde softly sings “I have a white hot anger / I’m slowly setting it free” over mellow synth textures and looping beats that sit in contrast to the emotion she’s expressing. This contradiction in sound and lyricism is what makes Sunde’s music so compelling.
The intimate ‘What Makes’ is truly intoxicating. “I wear my body inside out for you” she muses, over drifting beats and ambient synths. ‘The Bed’ is an emotive lament about the “skin and dirt” that sullies the sheets and the memories of stale love. Closing track ‘Flown’ is a breath of fresh air, a four minute rumination on freedom and letting go.
“When I made this record I tried to channel the same state of mind I have when I go clubbing” Sunde explains. “Not overthinking everything, like I usually do, but instead embracing my impulses; working intuitively, almost anti-intellectual.” This approach has resulted in an impressive collection of instinctive, immensely enjoyable sounds that could fill busy dancefloors, or soundtrack private moments of introspection in dimly lit bedrooms.
Photo credit: Fotini Chora