Matilda Mård is a Swedish artist. She releases music under the name Many Voices Speak. Many Voices Speak has just released a debut album, Tank Town. The collection of nine songs expands on the themes established on the artist’s 2016 EP, Away For All Time. Concepts of time, memory, place, and progress are explored – but in this most recent sequence there is a sense of deeper looking.
From the opening title track, ‘Tank Town’ Many Voices Speak signals her intention. The space allowed between beats is wide. The pace of progressions is measured in calming breath patterns. There is no hurry to assert a perspective – this is landscape to explore, not a position to defend.
Cinematic in scope, synths wash almost everything. A textured minimalism is offered up. There’s a sense that Mård is patrolling the beach at low tide. A hunt is on for the fascinating aspects of memory, but memory itself is fascinating, and so the hunt is easy. Many Voices Speak gradually uncovers all the elements that have led us to the now.
With song titles that are suggestive and short, rather than explicit and over-reaching, the poetry of things is as reflective as it is responsive. “I thought I saw you so many times, Heard I’d gone out of my mind.” – a line from ‘I Saw You’ peels back the layers of memory, and the kind of infatuation with ideas, rather than realities. “Your face confuses my sense of time.” is sung, not in a feverish pursuit that we may expect, but more in assessment of how we’re triggered, or tripped over by our own projections of events.
Like memory, much of the instrumentation finds no real resolve. Reverb is used heavily throughout. Echoes, and dissolving percussion punctuate many passages. The sequencing of tracks is sublime, but there’s a sense that any of these tunes offer opportunities to drift, rather than continue moving forward.
A track like ‘Bad Woman’ carries a more explicit line of poetry. This feels like a response to an accusation, or a cultural expectation. Mård’s voice cracks as she pleads “Again, again, again, again… Again, again, again, again…” for the thing that she needs. The sense of longing here is not small. Again, “I saw my best in you” shows the awareness of projection in passion.
A moment should be spent on the album artwork. This thing is a visual key to unlock process. A desert-scrub landscape. An advertising billboard, emptied of message, and deteriorating with neglect. Panels are missing. It’s hard to see where the land ends and the sky begins. The horizon is distant, but also possibly only a step away. The palette is made of mist and ideas of color, rather than anything that disrupts the retina. Fuck, it’s beautiful.
It’s the balance between retrospective memory, and passionate projection that creates the charm of Tank Town. The recall of memory produces a less-than-clear image, and the forward-looking projection is not clean either. Instead, there is a residual mist of previous events clouding perception. Only in the now, and in the awareness of limitations, is there a significant freedom.
With Tank Town Many Voices Speak have established a tone of negotiations. Moving forward this is what to expect, but Matilda Mård reserves the right to change course, alter her mind, and be in the now of the future.
HURRY – BUY – MANY VOICES SPEAK MUSIC
PHOTOGRAPH BY OLOF GRIND