Mads Steffànsson is not your everyday artist. This composer, producer, and performer defies the traditional boundaries of the music industry with their resolute commitment to independence and self-expression. Hailing from a background where life’s mundane experiences serve as inspiration, Steffànsson has a unique knack for crafting experimental soundscapes paired with cryptic, raw, and emotional lyrics.
Operating entirely outside the industry’s usual framework, their music refuses to fit neatly into any single category. Instead, it’s an intriguing fusion of post-punk, pop, psychedelia, techno, and avant-garde styles. Steffànsson’s unconventional approach to music, along with influences from an array of artists such as Andrew Weatherall, Pere Ubu, The Fall, Nick Drake, and The Pixies, has created a sound that’s as unique as it is compelling.
Described by Steffànsson as a “sonic diary,” their recordings strike an exciting balance between catchy melodies, atypical song structures, arty dissonance, and machinist drums. Each piece serves as an entry into Steffànsson’s internal world, reflecting their experiences and perceptions. The result is an honest, raw sound that challenges the listener while maintaining an intriguing allure.
This approach to music doesn’t just stop at the soundscape; Steffànsson also maintains complete control over the artwork, music, release dates, and overall consistency of their work. Such a high level of involvement reinforces their independent spirit, setting them apart in an industry that often promotes homogeneity over individuality.
Steffànsson’s newest EP, “Revisited,” embodies all of these attributes. It’s a testament to their creativity and commitment to their unique path in music, offering listeners a deep dive into the artist’s personal and unconventional sonic universe. This collection of mostly guitar-based songs, entirely written, performed, recorded, and mastered by Steffànsson, is a brilliant showcase of their talent and unique approach to music-making.
- “A Fucking Breezeblock” – This instrumental track kicks off the EP, setting a distinctive atmosphere with its experimental guitar work. It’s a perfect introduction to Steffànsson’s unconventional approach to music and an effective prologue to the journey ahead.
- “Just Pretend” – This piece delves into themes of loneliness and desperation, exploring an internal dialogue that resonates with universal human experiences. Lines like “And I’ve never been this alone before” encapsulate the raw, powerful sentiment of desolation. The verses describe a struggle, a battle against time and solitude. It’s an internal monologue that many will resonate with, while the chorus emphasizes the necessity of a lifeline, a person to lean on during challenging times. The song strikes a balance between despair and hope, with an emphasis on human connection as a means of survival.
- “Let Me Sleep” – Here, Steffànsson creates a narrative around solitude and the yearning for tranquility. The lyrical content, which encompasses a resistance to societal pressures and expectations, carries a sense of defiance. The recurring refrain, “Why does everyone always tell me what to do? I don’t want to be like any one of you,” encapsulates a rebellious spirit and a rejection of conformity. The song’s narrative contrasts a longing for isolation and tranquility with the demands of daily life, illuminating the tension between societal pressures and personal desires.
- “Snake Oil” – Steffànsson ventures into self-deception with this track. The repetitive chorus: “Found some snake oil in my back pocket. It’s good enough for me, I can’t stop it,” reflects a cycle of dependency, perhaps referring to self-delusion or harmful habits. It’s a commentary on the human tendency to fall prey to quick fixes or false remedies, revealing a profound struggle with inner demons.
- “Sedatives” – This track presents a haunting exploration of emotional pain and the allure of escapism through sedatives. The stark narrative captures a battle with mental health, illustrating a desperate attempt to find solace from inner turmoil. The lyrics “We load ourselves up with sedative. Feels like there’s no alternative” depict a bleak picture of someone seeking escape from emotional pain, highlighting the struggle to find reasons to keep living.
- “Death Revisited” – “Revisited,” the compelling new EP from Mads Steffànsson, concludes with a sixth track that fittingly encapsulates the unique aesthetic the artist has crafted. Titled “Death Revisited,” it stands apart as a predominantly instrumental piece, seamlessly blending grungy guitar strains with soft, wordless vocalizations.In this track, Steffànsson cleverly utilizes a less-is-more approach. Shunning complex lyrics, they instead rely on the evocative power of music itself. The grungy guitar acts as the track’s heartbeat, creating an edgy, raw soundscape that speaks volumes. Its gritty texture sets a moody and intense atmosphere, reinforced by the soft vocalizations that play like a haunting echo.
The raw emotional depth and expressive storytelling in “Revisited” form a compelling sonic diary, where every track is a new entry into Steffànsson’s inner psyche. Each song reflects Steffànsson’s raw vulnerability, while the striking melodies and his passionate delivery balance the EP’s darker themes with a sense of resilience and strength.
“Revisited” is a testament to Steffànsson’s self-driven artistic vision and the power of independent music production. It embodies a truly personal and unique approach to music-making, demonstrating that independent artists can produce profound and engaging work outside conventional industry practices.
In an era where music often feels mass-produced and insincere, Steffànsson’s commitment to authenticity and individuality is both refreshing and inspiring. For fans of truly independent music, “Revisited” offers an insightful journey into Steffànsson’s artistry, one that is certain to leave a lasting impression.