Release Date: Nov 11, 2014
Record label: To Whom It May Concern
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic
We’ve come a very long way since those vaginal aluminum foil trees had ejaculate arrows getting shot through them. For those playing catch-up, Jonna Lee, who got her start by trying to be Sweden’s answer to Sheryl Crow, started releasing extremely surreal, occasionally sexual, and sometimes downright nightmarish video clips under the iamamiwhoami moniker in late 2009. The name alone incited numerous online sleuths to try and figure out who was behind the synth-heavy surrealism that was suddenly becoming all the rage in indie-rock circles.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. There was a time when the identity of the person, or indeed people, behind iamamiwhoami was a mystery befitting the existential crisis that is the project's moniker. First coming to attention through a series of dark, mysterious YouTube videos speculation was rife as to who was behind it all. Common theories centred on artists such as Björk and The Knife, a testament to the act's wonderfully intriguing audio/visual releases.
Iamamiwhoami's very name suggests that the project involves continual change and self-discovery, so it's only natural that Jonna Lee and Claes Björklund offer a different twist on their expansive electropop with Blue. Just as Kin was a more cohesive and accessible collection than Bounty, the pair's third collaboration is more streamlined, with an even more pronounced contrast between light and dark. Lee and Björklund touch on the spookier, more mystical side of their music with the standouts "Hunting for Pearls" and "Shadowshow," but most of Blue evokes a cloudless day at the beach.
‘Blue’, the third full length from Jonna Lee’s electronic iamamiwhoami project, is an ‘audiovisual album’, the songs accompanied by short films on YouTube, where the singer has gained 30 million hits. But ‘Blue’’s 10 tracks don’t need artsy promos to make an emotional impact. Like Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan before her, the Stockholm-based Lee – who uploaded her first video late in 2009 – has a knack of making synths, drum pads and breathy vocals sound spiritual.
The innovative online video campaign for iamiamiwhoami’s first project Bounty, initially hinged on the mystery of who was behind them as much as the absorbing textural world of the videos themselves. Eventually revealing themselves as a collaborative outfit comprising performer Jonna Lee, producer Claes Björklund and directors collective WAVE, a second project Kin arrived online, followed by semi-conventional physical releases for both sets of tracks and videos. However, having successfully established a relatively small, but feverishly dedicated audience, a question mark over their future hangs heavy in the air.
On her first two albums as iamamiwhoami, Jonna Lee explored surreal universes populated by blinking trees, psychic mannequins, and tall, faceless monsters furred from head to toe. Her audiovisual works bounty and kin each house a subtle narrative that's more concerned with the movement of figures through space than concrete dramas in the traditional sense. bounty followed Lee through a series of textural transformations as she clawed through the world around her apparently in search of someone tall, bearded, and naked who's stranded in the Scandinavian countryside.
Despite the Queen Bee’s insistence otherwise, ‘Beyoncé’ is definitely not the first audiovisual album in the world. In fact it’s a format Jonna Lee’s project iamamiwhoami has been pushing forward with since 2009, in collaboration with her long-term producer Claes Björklund. An all-encompassing undertaking, iamamiwhoami spans music, visuals, and performance.