Two years ago we introduced Norwegian, Oslo-based singer-songwriter and musician Stina Stjern and her full-length Kap Herschell. Now she’s back with a new EP titled The Devil which was released a few days ago. Four songs which show her embracing and warm vocals and her personal vision of pop music with dynamic rhythms, fragmented ambient textures and rough lines.
According to the press release, This 4- track piece is a result of co-composing and brief meetings between Stina and musician and producer Kyrre Laastad. The thoughts behind this process has been to open up for what would reveal itself musically when not preparing too much, and trying to grasp the ideas as they came along.
The lyrics ended up coming from a place of anxiety and confusion and touches the themes illustrated by the Major Arcana tarot card, “The Devil”. The card represents our shadow selves and the toxic forces that constrain us and hold us back from being the best version of ourselves. You may feel limited by negative thought patterns, addictions or illusions. When feeling trapped it might be easy to point the finger at anything, or anyone, representing the devil outside of ourselves.
Listen below and check also the track by track after the full streaming.
Me and the Moth
Stina: “Me and The Moth is a little song about being involuntarily separated from everything and everyone you love. This is a little reflection on the passage in time when you struggle to make the grass greenest on your own side of the fence regardless of conditions.”
Kyrre: “Me and The Moth is probably the most electronic thing that me and Stina has done together. This whole EP really. Probably a product of us not once entering a “proper” old school studio during the recording of this EP. The song started with us making a weird beat and coming up with a couple of different chord sequences over it and the rest was built from there.”
The Curator of Truth
Kyrre: «The next track, The Curator of Truth was built around an undisclosed sample of an old record Stina had of a legendary singer with a scratch in it. Sounds like she’s singing something like “money cat two cat” or “money will do that”, but I think the original is actually “when we get together” with the last part of together cut off. The song basically goes from a darker, lower mood on the verses into a light double-tempo chorus, something that I normally find really hard to make work, but for whatever reason I’m really happy with it on this song.»
Stina: “This song is about what can happen when you are involved with someone who has a habit of curating the truth for their own benefit. And how the fear of discovering what you really have been a part of can be paralyzing. By walking out the door you might find yourself in a situation where you have to connect the dots. And having to connect the dots opens up a well of fantasy and creativity. When this fantasy and creativity evolves around chaos and toxicity, and further breeds chaos and toxicity, you might find yourself in a powerless rut. Then the question is: Who is the Devil in this scenario? The person who did you wrong, or the thoughts you keep feeding yourself?”
The Humiliating Act of Being Human/ Endless Crescendo (Into Nothing)
Stina: “The Humiliating Act of being Human spins around the same theme. At some point in my life I had a human category that was “Feather”-people. They just show up, and then they disappear. I like “feather”-people and thought I spotted an expression of freedom in them. But when inviting a “Feather” into your life you might discover that the “Feather”-personality is not necessarily very romantic.
It can be an expression of an elusive personality. Over time, all the uncertainty can make the other person feel trapped and powerless. “Endless Crescendo (Into Nothing)”, is an attempt to free myself from the toxicity by taking responsibility for my inner thought patterns and transforming them into something new. This is of course inspired by the major Arcana cards in the Tarot, “The Devil” and “Death”, and the symbolism in these cards. I also picked up my cassette tape recorder again and added some spoken word and played with the pitch-control. When I finished this piece I felt a tremendous feeling of relief.
Kyrre: «The Humiliating Act of Being Human is built around a wild combination that always fascinates me, acoustic guitars mixed with drum machines. One of the great combinations in pop music, up there with steel guitar and old Roland synths. Lars Ove Stene Fossheim joined on this with his GR something or other old Roland synth guitar and on gorgeous feedback, connecting this track with the last song on the EP, Endless Crescendo (Into Nothing) which interestingly enough is anything but a crescendo with it’s more or less static bed of sped-down synthesizers and cassette hiss. For the last song we wanted something that would (hopefully) slow down the listener’s sense of time, but had nothing written that would do this.
I however had made this long improvisational thing consisting of layers of synthesizers recorded onto an old four-track with the ability to play stuff back at half speed that had a really great texture, the synthetic flute’s vibrato almost painfully slow, a couple of years earlier. I sent this to Stina and expected her to do something collage-like on top of it, but instead she turned it into an actual song, and one of her best in my opinion. It has an almost gospel-like feeling that I love, and I was pretty floored at what she sent back.»