Crafting Sweden’s new wave of post-Pink Floyd psychedelia.

Fontän is the product of a seven-year musical collaboration between Johan Melin and Jesper Jarold. Formed in 2001, the pair met while taking a multi-media class in its native Sweden and had a rather bizarre first musical encounter. During class, the two were grouped together and asked to score the film Ornitologus Psykosus, which according to them is about “an owl making things hard for a poor man on his way to an optician.” While scoring the film, the two found that they both enjoyed working creatively together and continued to make music well after their days in the academy. “We didn’t call ourselves Fontän back then—it wasn’t until three to four years later,” explains Melin and Jarold collectively via email, “It was more of a social thing at first, but then we realized that we had a couple of tunes that we were happy with.”

It was during these years of development that the two halves of Fontän had time to generate their signature blend of psychedelic electronics laced with proggy guitar solos and hints of post-punk. Over time, each has adopted distinctive roles within the group, with Jesper characterized as being “more organic” and Johan described as being “more synthetic.” You can hear this tense division of labor juxtaposed beautifully in their music—especially on the single “Early Morning” off their debut EP under the same name on Sweden’s Information label. In fact, all of the duo’s songs feature live guitars, bass, toms, percussion and synths, allowing its records to gain a higher degree of aural character that eludes many of their more sample-based contemporaries. According to the group, the only samples used are for some “strange noises” or the occasional snare.

After working on songs in separate spaces for years and exchanging innumerable audio files, Fontän moved into a practice space in the west of Sweden to work on its latest material. It was smart and fateful move. Through their reverberating practice space walls, Fontän’s music caught the ear of one of their neighbors—Rasmus Hägg of fellow Swedish prog-electronic duo, Studio, and owner of the Information imprint. From their chance encounter, Hägg asked Fontän to record an LP on Information, which features excellent remixes of the aforementioned “Early Morning” single by both Studio and labelmate Mountain of One.

Finding out more about who’s behind Fontän’s well-crafted songs can prove to be quite difficult for the casual fan. This is quite contrary to the hyper-documentation typically used by musicians in the digital era. When asked about the sparse documentation on Fontän, the group’s collective answer is simple: “We don’t really have much to say aside from our music. Bands talking about themselves can easily get out of hand, posting loads of pictures and writing huge essays about themselves on MySpace. Nothing wrong with it, we just don’t find it interesting! We like when the music does the talking!” Luckily for music fans, Fontän’s priorities are straight and they have crafted some of the most refreshing electronic music in recent memory. With new remixes for the likes of Metronomy, and plans to tour the states, Fontän seems poised to introduce their infectious new sound to American ears. 

TEXT BY David Castillo