Anomi by Sonja Tofik
An album for disenfranchised souls
The harrowing music on Anomi, Sonja Tofik's debut album proper (following a six-track EP called Neuros in 2017 and a collaborative album called Vilar i dina spår with Mar-llena released a year later) is a soundtrack, tailor-made for today's wildly sinister world events. Anomi is the Swedish word for Anomie, which is described as:
a societal condition defined by an uprooting of moral values, evolving from a conflict of belief systems, causing breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community
Perhaps Tofik isn't pointing directly to ubiquitous divide-and-rule governments but the concept of rebelling against corruption and demanding a fairer society for all is the hot topic right now. And who's surprised when the most deplorable extremes of human behaviour end up on our virtual doorsteps every day through fake news channels and rabid social media frenzy? Tofik instead peers inward, contemplating the self, questioning the effects of losing sight of social and moral guides, the negative results of exposure to anomie. The coin flip is self-destruction rather than rebellion.
Themes of self-doubt, shattered emotions and death are handled through suitably spiritless sound, occasionally difficult composition and dirge-like ambience. Across ten funereal tracks, the monster within us all creeps from one dark spot to another, emanating dark vibes, forcing self-criticism. Astute field recordings balanced with drawn-out organ chords set the tone, with moaning incantations drawing the fine line separating life and death. Track titles (in English) lend a considerable weight to the overall success of the concept, ripe for interpretation; my favourite is Night Changes Many Thoughts.