To enter Skelektikon is to enter a world of dark fantasy. The elegant video for “Hermitage” (directed by Marcus Fjellström himself) is drenched in dark shadows and simultaneously informed by Kafka and Grimm. Strange creatures and contraptions interact as the moon rises diagonally and a crystal ball glows. The effect is akin to a spinning lamp on Halloween. In similar fashion, the music lurks about, occasionally inviting, occasionally pouncing, dark yet inviting, like a house made of candy nestled in the deep woods.
Fjellström’s non-linear style of composition is his greatest asset. While many traditional elements are present ~ percussion, bells, synth, strings ~ these tracks unfold without obvious trajectories, operating as mood pieces for a tale that knows no end, like the life of a specter. They drift down darkened hallways, explore alluring alcoves, leave pieces of themselves like breadcrumbs in other tracks, yet care not if they find their way home. A hint of the ancient is present, as both video and film reference the silent era, in which sudden twitches might be the slips of a reel or something far more sinister. As the tracks seem weighted down by neither anchor nor chain, they beg repeated plays; only on occasion (the stringed surges of “Aunchron”, the rhythms of “Skeleton Dance 3”) do they offer any guidepost. One is never sure if one has heard it all. There may still be a cellar, an attic, a hidden closet, a secret passageway. Don’t go in there! cries the subconscious. But we must, because we must know what’s making that sound.
In “Modulus”, it’s clear that this thing ~ whatever it is ~ is alive. But is it benign? The chances are slim. Yet the creature seems trapped, forlorn. Perhaps if we let it out, it will be grateful? Perhaps we will never meet what trapped it there? We suspect a trick, but we’re not sure what it is. We only know that this is the way of fractured fairy tales, to lead down corridors that expand and contract, to open dimensions with words, to take wishes literally, with dire consequences; to occasionally reward the good (so as not to be predictable), but more often to punish the curious. An organ symbolizes church, but not necessarily God; when these bells ring, we doubt that angels are getting their wings; and when knives are sharpened, we know that we’ve ventured too far. But it’s too late now. Running will only hasten our demise; we may as well see what’s behind that last door. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 3 February