Sternpost Ulrika

Label
Concentric Circles
Released
19th July 2024

Michael & Stephen's Pick

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Format Info

LP - black vinyl

This has completely disarmed us…

Sternpost is Petter Herbertsson, a Swedish librarian who when not at work disappears into a mystical world of achingly beautiful melody, Cantebury Psyche magic and baroque pop. It’s weird because everything about the presentation of this before delving in makes you think it’s a discordant noise project or some free folk freaks lost in the woods but you can’t get much further out here. Ulrika is utterly breathtaking work, some deep Robert Wyatt collabing with Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci slanted and decanted arrangements, some oblique songwriting that sounds like Odyssey & Oracle by way of BBC Radiophonic Workshop and plenty of playing that sounds like that sweetspot in say, 1970, before prog rock and after psyche. This is music you HAVE to hear.

At its heart though, Herbertsson’s project is a DIY pop record: the playing is impeccable, the arrangements novel and fresh but it sounds like a super pro studio recording from 1969 just discovered on a reel-to-reel in Stockholm (did I mention this is sung entirely in Swedish? Who cares though). All the glockenspiel, vibes, walking basslines, lush chord progressions, it almost makes us think of The Pastels circa NOW baby. I also checked it was ok with SP to make this reference. It turns out Stephen is digging Sternpost too so it’s all good in Love and not war.

There’s so much to love about this album. The stretching out on Delta alternativa segel reminds a little of The Pastels’ soundtrack work, Ulrika har en bil presses those Euros Childs buttons along with the bleeps and bloops on whatever vintage synth they’re using. The criss crossing vibes and flutes weaving through out the record are like teleportation to a better place, it’s just truly stunning. Really bucolic sounding, a sun-dappled meander through some enchanted Malmo woods (are there woods in Malmo?)… 

In all honesty I can’t believe this music exists in 2024, in best possible way. The original pressing of Ulrika sold out instantly (don’t check Discogs I implore you) and has now been repressed by our pal Jed’s label Concentric Circles (which you know from that limited Shizuka cassette repress).

Give yourself to some magic.