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Horror Vacui – Siri Karlssons 5th album

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Inspired by 14- and 1500-centuries map makers they paint a new world map of
undiscovered territories.

In 2018 Siri Karlsson premiered the piece Horror Vacui (fear of emptiness), a close to 20 minutes long piece

commissioned by the Swedish Radio to be performed at the SR/P2 international electronic music festival Art’s Birthday Party in Stockholm. The duo was inspired by the 14- and 1500 centuries map makers who filled and

decorated unknown territories with images from their imagination and myths.

The piece developed into a full length album. Horror Vacui is released November 8 on vinyl and digital streaming world wide. Siri Karlsson deep dives into electronic soundscapes with its odd setting of synths, keyed fiddle, saxophone and voice. In Horror Vacui also accompanied by Jonna Löfgren on drums (Glasvegas) and Mats Äleklint on trombone (Rising star in Downbeat).

The visual artist and musician Per Byström has interpreted the musical soundscape and illustrated a world map of Horror Vacui for the cover.

”To us Horror Vacui is as much a piece of art as an album – a sanctuary for exploration of emotions, textures, sound, noise. The music demands attention and good listening” says Maria Arnqvist and Cecilia Österholm who constitute Siri Karlsson.

”It was challenging to write a 20 minutes coherent piece, which was the commission. We are used to a song format. But when we landed in the idea of a world map, discovering new territories, our creativity was unleashed. We dived deep into the underground to face lava creatures, struggled in storms, travelled through calm waters to new continents and mythical parties. Per Byström (Melbourne), who illustrated our map has really captured our environments and together we have created our own world.”

”In 2018 Maria and Cecilia contacted me from the other side of the world wondering if I’d be interested in drawing a map for their band @thesirikarlsson. I was already a fan but from the moment I heard the new recordings this went from being work to an obsession. They wanted something similar to the illustrations of #henricusmartellus and Juan de la Cosa...y’know, the expert cartographers of the 1400s and 1500s. No pressure at all!” Writes Per Byström


Siri Karlsson - A dazzling masterpiece

“Horror Vacui” means “fear of emptiness” and the duo Maria Arnqvist and Cecilia Österholm who form the band Siri Karlsson have this time been inspired by the cartography of the 15th and 16th century.

The construction of soundscapes and empty places on the map to be filled is the basis for the incredibly experimental music, a mixture of traditional folk music, psych, pop, noise and jazz. Heavy rhythms are broken by screams, beautiful melodies on the key harp are followed by the howling saxophone.

Although I am a friend of (music) order who prefers verse and chorus, it is impossible not to be dazzled by the vision here, the crossing of many borders, the artful and uncompromising exploration.

The music rumbles and vibrates, and is felt as much as it is heard. In the same spirit as the drone masters Sunn O))) the music penetrates into the skeleton and bone marrow." Frida Lindström, VF

"The TV serie Chernobyl and the movie Joker have one thing in common. The sense of doom is enhanced by dull tones from a cello being manipulated; the boundary between music and static electricity is blurred. The composer is the same in both cases, the Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir.

The Swedish experimental folk music duo Siri Karlsson (no one in the duo is called Siri, no one is named Karlsson) acts in the same spirit and shows on their new album that they are worth equally large international assignments. Cecilia Österholm has the key fiddle as the main instrument, Maria Arnqvist alto saxophone, but it is not possible to guess it by the sounds they create, with the support of grey, mossy synthesizers.
Jan Gradvall DI

Siri Karlsson turns into avant-garde Goth folk

Duon Siri Karlsson's new album is inspired by maps from the 15th and 16th centuries. At that time, places that were not known where drawn out of images from the imagination. And on "Horror Vacui" - fear of void - Cecilia Österholm and Maria Arnqvist travel through overgrown forests and over foggy mountains to discover new soundscapes. So it sounds anyway. No one listening would guess that the main instruments are key fiddle and alto saxophone. Siri Karlsson is moving farther away from folk music. Possibly it is a kind of avant-garde Goth folk. "Underjorden" (the underground) could be one of Thåström's most experimental Berlin moments.

The eighteen minute long title track is a wildly grueling journey with pulsating synths, marching drums and gargling trombone. And all of a sudden, the dark mood is broken with the rock 'n' roll in the wild and crazy song "The party". Pooh!
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