LABEL: PNKSLM RECORDINGS
Not even his co-producer knows how All These Worlds Are Yours - the second album from Stockholm-based Hannes Ferm, aka HOLY - has ended up sounding. Uprooting from his native Umeå to Stockholm at the beginning of 2016, Ferm headed straight into the notoriously DIY Studio Cobra with Les Big Byrd’s Martin Ehrencrona, with a head full of ideas and a new part-time job there. Yet for all of Ehrencrona’s work co-producing on studio hours, Ferm was sneaking in late at night; breaking his songs apart and meticulously building them back up again layer upon layer.
Musically, All These Worlds… bursts with the youthful joy of listening to David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars or Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star for the first time. Underneath the layers of piano flourishes and psychedelic swirls, All These Worlds... is unmistakably and unashamedly inspired by the great glam-rock records. Taken as a whole, it’s a romanticised painting of the early ‘70s - full of Rocky Horror Picture Show swagger and Brian Eno-esque art pop. It’s freaky, it’s theatrical, it’s alien - but above all us, it’s decidedly human.
Borrowing its name from the title of a book Ferm was given as a gift from his sister - All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life - it’s safe to say there’s a touch of the otherworldly lingering over it all. “I got into like - not science fiction in itself - but more researching about alien life,” Ferm explains. “Old reports of cases where people have seen UFOs - stuff like that. “I think that a lot of the songs are about this... character, almost… That thinks she's been abducted; brainwashed. And then comes back to earth. And I think every song has a trace of that in it - but it’s purely metaphorical. It’s a daydream, a form of escape.”
In the end, that’s exactly how All These Worlds… plays out. It’s an exquisitely composed form of escape; ten songs that embrace alien life, time travel and loving someone who’s not quite human as much as they do the inner workings of us as people.
“That's what makes it kind of special to me,” Ferm says of the album as a whole. “It’s all my ideas and dreams of space, coming face-to-face with my reality at the time.” In a sentence, All These Worlds… is as classically clean-cut as it is invigoratingly bombastic. It’s in a world all of its own.
Silver of Your Heart (EP, 2014)
Stabs (LP, 2015)
All These Worlds Are Yours (LP, 2018)