Relationships, even stable ones, trigger internal freak outs—those desolatory, paranoiac whisperings that twist up into silent tornados of angst. It's thinking that most of us are loathe to admit to. Who would ever expose their murkiest, inner crazy? Norwegian solo artist Nils Bech it turns out, and he's laid it over a soul-searingly beautiful, synth-pop soundtrack to form his third LP, One Year. "It's based around emotions I experienced during the first year of being with my current boyfriend," he explains. "I was truly in love, and this person loved me back. But the strange thing with love is it doesn't always bring out the best in you. I felt a lot of shame and insecurity. Jealousy. And I was never brave enough to talk about it sober, so it came out in all the wrong ways when I was drunk."
Bech's blood seems to boil from the outset of his new single "Jealousy," as dark synth loops coalesce, and ominous percussion pounds. His voice is strident with just the faintest quiver, then turns plaintive before breaking out into angelic crescendo. Although much of One Year's power lies in its relatability, it is revelatory on a musical level too. Complex, theatrical synth-pop fused with contemporary classical is a potentially alienating combination, but Bech and arranger Julian Skar deftly avoid pretension. Oh, and in case you were curious if exposing all your darkest shit can really be healing—Bech is still happily in love.
Photo credit: Benjamin Huseby