Swedish artist Anders Ilar has never restricted himself to any one genre, producing acidic minimal techno and less structured electronica, for a host of labels, in equal measure. 'Ludwijka (Extended Visit)' falls into the latter category, and builds upon an earlier vinyl edition formerly released on Merck. Essentially a travelogue around Ilar's hometown of Ludwijka, these tracks are filled with sounds culled from old tapes of a young Ilar singing, playing instruments and making various noises, along with more recent, equally personal recordings, including Ilar's father on trumpet, the meowing family cat and chirping neighbourhood birds. As Ilar states: '...Musically, it's probably inspired by all the music I've listened to over the years. So you see, its a very personal album for me.'
This might lead you to expect a warm, nostalgic journey through resonant patches of sound, but anyone familiar with Ilar's earlier Shitkatapult releases will not be surprised to find something quite different. Filtered through Ilar's laptop, the Ludwijka of his childhood becomes like a David Lynch film: a dark, harrowing nightmare, yet also achingly beautiful. 'Ludwijka I' introduces pads as lush as Ulf Lohmann's, alongside a backdrop teeming with subtle activity, and Casio beats which skip, like Boards of Canada, a notch above ambient music. The same intricate details swarm by, blurred, in 'Ludwijka III', as though viewed from the window of a speeding train, while ticker tape taps scroll past biological moans and groans and morbid, mournful synth pads, all put together like the bleakest electro. 'Ludwijka IV' comes closest to being a pleasant memory, with muffled piano chords shimmering like Budd and Eno, while part VII skips slowly by in 4/4, the drums mere tics, while birds sing and water drips in some dank and horribly lonely place.
Aside from the sounds of birds, the most prevalent theme in 'Ludwijka' is echo, as though Ilar has thrust these memories into a deep cavernous underground. The resultant, reverberant gloom, present in all of these finely constructed tracks, is frequently riveting, and the wealth of detail Ilar has packed in offers much more than misery to the attentive listener.