Sweden’s Per Defalva started his creative life as a visual artist. Early in his career he added music to his repertoire. Joined by producer Andreas Hedberg, he began an ambitious decades-long musical installation.
For the past twenty-two years,he has shared his journey through life as a multi-chapter musical project. In 1998 he released the first of six albums in the “On the Voyage Through Life” (OVTL) project. Each of the records reflects Deflava’s current stage in life. Six albums have been released in the OVTL-series; Destinations (1998), Circles (2004), Communication (2008), Evolution (2012), Noises (2015) and the brand new installment for 2020, “Energy.”
The thread of a failing romantic relationship loosely ties the these songs together. However, it is a nuanced journey. The songs on “Energy” inspect and dissect interpersonal relationships and the ever evolving goals and ambitions in life. It is a record of introspection and redefinition. The record mixes messages of personal motivation (“Just Do It,” “No Limit”) with reflective analysis of past motivations (“The Race,” “The Game.”)
In our youth we face a thousand possibilities head-on, with blind confidence. Now in mid-life, Defalva finds himself questioning some of the choices he made. He reflects on the decisions of the past as he sings, “trapped in a circle, that’s not me. still I don’t know what sets me free. Why do you follow me?” Gone is the invincibility youth. The artist studies the impermanence of life on “Eternal Pulse” when he sings, “Let this heart beat till I’m done with all the things I wanna do.”
Throughout the record Deflava mixes live organic instrumentation with electronic elements. He and producer Hedberg weave acoustic guitars and pianos in and out of Ambient synth soundscapes and EDM grooves. Pink Floyd is a big influence on Per’s sound, which we can hear in thematic nature of the songs’ arrangements. I can also hear hints of everyone from New Order to Nine Inch Nails. However, the artist’s own unique style and vision is the defining factor on the record. “Energy” is a deeply personal album. The close tie between song and songwriter is evident from start to finish.
“Energy: On the Voyage Through Life” is a layered and complex record with beautiful instrumentation and a thoughtful examination of one step on the journey of a man’s life. Check out the record on Spotify and follow the links below to connect with Per Defalva.