Sometimes it’s easier to avoid speaking about certain types of music, because you know all the comparisons swooping in and out of your thoughts have been made before. It’s difficult to talk about Scandinavian electronica without slotting back into tried and tested descriptions of the musical landscape. The thing is, perhaps the reason that it’s so easy to place such uniquely clean and articulate sounds side-by-side with enviably dramatic surroundings is because the landscape directly inspires them. Yes, perhaps if one more person describes Röyksopp as cold and mysterious or The Knife as expansive and wild, icy, that their latest work sees them ‘thaw’, then we might all be forgiven for giving up on music journalism altogether. The problem is however, I’m trying to write a love letter about a particular aspect of Swedish electronica, and all I can think of is glaciers, forests, grand sweeping cinematic shots of vast freshwater lakes and frozen 4pm sunsets. That these images are so intrinsic to much of the Scandinavian electronica we hear sort-of lends itself to the idea that perhaps there is a definite link there somewhere.

My love affair with Scandinavia has been a long and enduring one. It has always been a place of magical beauty, so close to the UK, and yet so seemingly far away; a part of the world where night isn’t really night and snow isn’t just a fleeting Christmas-time excitement. Although I have never been an Abba fan – not secretly, not ever – I have felt a connection to the dance music scene in pockets of Sweden and Norway that I never did with other aspects of European house or techno (however much of the German electronica scene led by Apparat, Ellen Allien and Modselektor seems to fit in with the genre very well, making my Scandinavian Electronica tag seem clumsy and useless. Oh well.) Recently I made a huge discovery in the form of Anders Ilar. Born in a small lakeside village in Sweden and currently residing in the wonderfully architecturally confusing city of Gothenburg, Ilar has spent the past ten years or so tipping increasingly lovely minimal techno out of his head and into albums that most electronica musicians could only dream of making. Finding Ilar has been something of a minor miracle. Discovering an artist whose music you instantly fall in love with even via low-quality YouTube projections and then being able to systematically devour their (flawless) back-catalogue in one go is a fantastic feeling, and one that happens fairly infrequently.

Herein lays the problem though. I was going to try and describe what his music sounds like, and how it makes the listener (me) feel without mentioning any Scandinavian clichés. It was impossible. It’s like trying to review Sígur Rós without using the words “glacial” or “barren”. At any rate, how can you describe a sound to somebody who hasn’t heard it? If I was to tell you that Moonshine Over Hillside recounts ethereal music heard just out of reach in an icy cavern, the distorted dripping of water providing it with its pulse-like backbone, you’d either presume I’d just left art school, or I had no idea what I was talking about. Likewise, beautifully sparse and yet somehow welcomingly warm Rain In All Familiar Places puts me in mind of Wisp at his most mellow, but perhaps this sounds like I’m trying to impress you with mediocre Rephlex references. I just can’t win, can I?

The only thing I can do to get you to love this collection of beats, feeling, ice, water, fire, emotion and sparse but exquisite synths is show you songs to listen to. September Nights is quietly brooding, not furious, but not content. Disconcertingly sliced Icarus and Pegasus is far more IDM than minimal techno. He can be nightmarish, as in Ocean Sonata, or he can be soaring and beautiful, as in Dawn. It seems imperative that I convince at least one person to give his album Sworn a good listening to. Please promise you’ll click on at least one of these links.