Moonilena’s last release, the ‘Tiny Portals’ EP, was a foray into dream house, praised by Resident Advisor and The Ransom Note. The quality was such, that for some artists, it would’ve been a predictable route to follow, but not for this natural explorer.

With a new approach and new tools, for this debut album, the Stockholm-based audiology student also known as Marlena Salonen went far, far deeper; somewhere so deep you may never escape, lost in exquisitely beautiful, desolated places.

A dark suite encompassing ambient, deathdream and broken transmission, with refrains recurring across the eight movements, here Salonen jettisoned conventional rhythm almost entirely, in favour of layered harmony, synthesis, drone and sound design.

By working with FM-synthesis and deviating from her usual use of samples and sounds from the ‘real world’, a purely electronic music emerged. Inspired by signal processing theory which she was studying at the time, she began musing on how quantisation errors that occur in analogue-to-digital conversion – and the inherent distortion in FM Synthesis – could be applied to more abstract phenomena, such as memory. This concept was developed into an imaginary scenario, which acts as an analogy for her creative studio process, and its subsequent output.

She envisioned a future archive, collated by a huge data processing machine, without bias as to which points are more important than others. Here humans’ emotional memories of love, longing and sorrow are misprocessed and misinterpreted as bureaucratic information on work, industry and infrastructure.

With this scrambled archive in mind, where the outgoing signal isn’t consistent with the incoming one, she created a soundtrack where her own signal path is distorted – both literally, and in terms of her artistic intent, and authorship.

Trying to coax soul out of black boxes has been a recurring theme across decades of electronic music, but here the approach is converse, with the humanity deliberately lost in translation. Part Sci-Fi, and part rumination on the very nature of machine-made sounds, if Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, then ‘Minnet’ could be the back story of how that came to be.

The results of Moonilena’s experiments are the creation of vivid, huge-scale sonic locations, that are stark and lonely yet stunning, enabling the lister to walk around deserted nocturnal cityscapes, finding unexpected peace in seclusion, and pure anonymity.

Musically poised, paced and placed, ‘Minnet’ is cooly ergonomic, arranged and composed with a computer-like logic, but is never unmoving. These monolithic transmissions from un-manned circuits instead have a great impact, like Hal 9000’s death scene, evoking empathy for melancholy machines.

The raw material and ideas around data mining began when Moonilena performed in an abandoned iron ore extraction facility in Mimerlaven, for which she wrote new material with its enormous reverberant space in mind. She has participated in a series of other site specific experimental, audiovisual installation pieces, in collaboration with the artist Lap-See Lam; These include Performa 19 Biennial in New York, Portikus, Frankfurt and Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm.


  1. Nattrafik
  2. Skuggkurva
  3. Dom Bor Under Taket
  4. Stenens Dröm
  5. Förlåt
  6. Utrop
  7. Utan En Sång
  8. Spegel Utan Svar

Available to pre-order via Bandcamp

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