boerd – Misplaced
Sometimes the album cover can tell you exactly what you can expect from the music within. A case in point is the cover for Misplaced, new album by the Swedish producer/composer/musician boerd. You get this quite serene looking place, a swimming pool with very still water, and a green forest seemingly close to the end of summer with the leaves slowly yellowing. Yet, there are things jarring the landscape. Chairs thrown in the pool, as if there was a wild party there not long ago, and the clouds seem to be gathering. Slowly but surely.
Now put on the album by this guy for whom his true day job is playing bass for The Royal Swedish Opera. What you see is what you get – some very calming musical waters, from all the strands of modern, melodic, downtempo stuff. Trip-hop, lounge, slow beats (reminding you that there was a party going on here at some point), with lead and background vocals dispersed throughout.
To fans of the more avant-garde stuff this all might sound too ‘middle of the road’, but boerd makes sure that his musical ‘chairs’ disrupt the scenery enough not to really reach that middle of the road. And it is those little touches, chairs thrown into the pool, like the piano in the middle part of “Silver,” that make Misplaced actually such an enjoyable listen.
Ok, some might complain that enjoyable is not what they need, that they want something that will stimulate their mind, but there is a point missed there. You have to calm things down at some point and regain your energy. To be stimulated again.
Yet another point could be missed by dismissing boerd and Misplaced as, well, thus misplaced. The thing is that boerd, as somebody with a detailed musical training (a thing that can either really help or really detract) — trying to create music that is confined with strict boundaries.
It is music that has to have a distinct melody, instrumental and vocal concept and time signatures. To make something interesting and listenable within more or less strict rules is really hard and demands an artist that really knows what he/she’s doing. With Misplaced boerd proves he does. Those chairs thrown into a serene pool don’t disrupt the scenery, they complement it.