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“All my friends were playing in these bass-guitar-drum bands,” speaks Jens Lekman, casting his mind back over twenty years to his first rudimentary experiments with sampling using his father’s old cassette recorder, and an instinct to create music that would set him far apart from his Swedish pop peers. “I’m going to sound like Scott Walker. But I’m going to do it in my bedroom.” Works of sweeping, maximalist, orchestral wonder sung in a sumptuous tenor, weaving lifts from obscure fleamarket vinyl records with by turns burningly romantic and mordantly funny true-life tales from the sleepy-shadowy suburbs of Gothenburg – Lekman’s early songs come from a different time, a different place. An era when the internet was young, limitless and disruptive, sample culture was turning music inside out, and anything felt possible. After initially finding an audience through peer-to-peer file sharing sites, Lekman signed to Secretly Canadian Records in 2003, and went on to release a slew of cherished material, including three cult limited-edition EPs – Maple Leaves, Rocky Dennis and Julie – later collected on the 2005 compilation album Oh You’re So Silent Jens.
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