The first electronic drum loop starts and I am instantly endeared. It’s the popping, ticking equivalent of tapping a Tupperware lunchbox quietly in private – a little morsel of head music leaking out into the real world. All of the radiant synths and bubbling guitars feel intimate and part-immaterial, conceived internally, illuminating the inside of my skull and snaking between synapses. The melodies linger upon major keys, like a happy thought cupped between the palms of the mind, dripping gently through the fingers of fading memory.
It’s a psychedelic pop record (punctuated with shoegaze and miniature sci-fi) for the snowglobe of the cranium. For this reason, headphones seem to be the perfect medium for listening. I wander the streets of my home town on an early evening, the twirling lights of phasers and robot reverbs flashing against the backs of my eyes, with bass frequencies dribbling out of my nose like mucus. So much headphone music projects itself upon the soundscape around me, as though everyone in my vicinity hears exactly as I do. With Ulfves’ music, no such illusion takes place. This music is for me. No hand is taken but mine.