In case you missed the memo, we here at Nordic Spotlight are huge fans of Norwegian artist Tarjei Ekelund, who records and performs under the name Intertwine. Following last fall’s fantastic standalone single “Let Go,” Ekelund has returned with a luxuriant, smooth-as-silk track titled “Alone.” As with “Let Go,” “Alone” arrives via a Norwegian label we write about often: Brilliance, which will also release a new Intertwine EP next month.
“Alone” sees Ekelund favoring textures over propulsion. Whereas “Let Go” pulsed intensely despite its terminal chillness, “Alone” is the sonification of a lazy river. The track’s unfanged percussion hovers at a steady pace, weaving so calmly around the track’s peripheral electronics that the drums are easy to miss entirely. More plainly in focus across “Alone” are tiny bubbles of blissful synthetic sounds, which dot Ekelund’s breathy singing with a hope that contrasts his resigned vocals. Tying the song’s disparate elements together are saxophones so featherlight they must be synthetic; these brass parts’ digital origins are more appropriately placating than the real instrument often is.
Ekelund’s instrumental choices paint a palette at once bleak and hopeful. In other words, he’s paired the emotions that most strongly alternate following a breakup. “I know, I know, I know,” he repeats often across “Alone,” as though to reassure both himself and a former lover with whom he’s speaking. In the chorus, he follows this repeated phrase with, “It is probably just a dream, all alone with you”; in this lyric, he depicts the way that a person can struggle to move on from someone who’s clearly indicated the end of a romance. “The road ahead is long, and I know it won’t get easier,” he admits during his grief, in a moment during which realism and rational thought overtake his intense desire. There’s a reason we here at Nordic Spotlight love Ekelund so much — even when he’s dreaming, he’s grounded in reality.