The Swedish artist Lykke Li has announced her return to with EYEYE, “an immersive audiovisual album, out May 20th on Play It Again Sam.
EYEYE is purported to be the songwriter’s most intimate album yet, and was made with longtime collaborator Björn Yttling, their first time working together since 2014’s I Never Learn.
Speaking to the intimate vibe, it was recorded in Lykke’s bedroom in Los Angeles, and is “attempt to compress a lifetime of romantic obsession and female fantasy into a hyper sensory landscape.”
The album’s visual component consists of seven visual loops – the first is below, alongside new song ‘No Hotel’.
The visuals are one minute long loops directed by Theo Lindquist and shot on 16 millimetre film by cinematographer Edu Grau (A Single Man, Passing).
“We wanted to capture the beauty and grandeur of a three-hour European arthouse movie, while making something native to modern media. The intention is to deliver the full impact of a movie in sixty seconds on a phone screen, which is where most of our emotional experiences happen now anyway.”
Together, the music and visuals reveal a grander narrative, a story about the eternally returning cycles of love, addiction, relapse and obsession (the album’s title and running time are palindromic). EYEYE is not a return to form. It is Lykke’s final confrontation with the form that has defined her career. It’s a breakup with the breakup album, and the singer’s magnum opus.
After four critically-acclaimed studio albums, Lykke wanted to use a different palette to make EYEYE. She imposed a dogmatic set of rules to govern each aspect of the production. There were no clicktracks, no headphones, and no digital instruments. The vocals were recorded on a handheld $70 drum mic, often in the moment of composition, giving the lyrics the still-beating sound of fresh heartbreak being whispered into your ear. The record was mixed to tape by Shawn Everett over several months in Los Angeles. The result is a shimmering 33-minute carousel-ride through emotional hyperspace, with stripped-down production, swirling analog synths, and the massive pop hooks that longtime fans will recognise as the singer’s stock-in-trade. “I wanted the record to have the intimacy of listening to a voice memo on a macro dose of LSD,” Lykke says.