Under the moniker of Varg2TM, Jonas Rönnberg runs a cunning operation.
Covert transmissions, alongside penetrating statements from techno’s core, are stacked adjacent to self-assertive live performances with an agility and depth of focus rarely summoned so instinctively. With a still-rising presence, Rönnberg makes sense of the decadent overdose privy to underground musics at this time. And producing work on his own prolific schedule, his barely controlled chaos isn’t stopping to check that you’ve noticed.
Presiding over Stockholm’s Northern Electronics label with Anthony Linell, Rönnberg casts a cryptic shadow from the North over contemporary platforms in club musics as well as the long arc of experimental music practices. The dynamic set of works that comprise the Nordic Flora Series are a keen example of this breadth and are a key of sorts to the artist. This year’s Sky City EPs, along with the album ‘Evanescence (A Love Letter)’, refract expectations and transact damage spectacularly.
Tempering a caustic rhythmic sensibility with a pneumatic palette for high definition synthesis, Rönnberg’s unique embrace of risk tests the reliability of the forms he works in as well as the genre borders he surveys. The glossy brutalism of Ulwhednar, his collaboration with Linell, is a persistent and remorseless transmission of their shared techno foundations. In contrast is the dizzying contemporary pop of his collaboration with AnnaMelina under the name of Flora. Building on a long-standing collaborative pact with Copenhagen’s Posh Isolation, recent work with Croatian Amor has yielded restless grime and jungle-fuelled tracks, whereas The Empire Line’s pummelling trance- laced works are crossed with power electronics to raw, hedonistic effect, giving up Christian Stadsgaard and Isak Hansen’s noise pedigree.
It takes a vandal’s logic of intuition to make this work, let alone make it this thrilling. But if you can break into the penthouse, you may as well stay and coerce the havoc with a bottle of someone else’s champagne in hand. And, yes, you should be suspicious of what you know you haven’t seen —it’s obviously intimidating.