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Varg

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Sweden's Jonas Rönnberg records bleak experimental techno and dark ambient under the name Varg. Along with Anthony Linell (Abdulla Rashim), he runs the highly acclaimed Northern Electronics label out of Stockholm, and he's heavily involved with the Danish experimental label Posh Isolation, collaborating in projects with musicians such as label founder Loke Rahbek and Frederikke Hoffmeier (aka Puce Mary).
Varg remains the project he's received the most attention over, as well as his most prolific outlet. Early releases such as 2013's Misantropen and 2014's Linje 19 (with Hypnobirds) created a darker variation on ambient dub techno, with traces of acid. He continued expanding his sound through ambitious releases like 2015's Star Alliance and Ursviken, then initiated the Nordic Flora series in 2016. The third part of the series, 2017's Gore-Tex City, introduced vocals and elements of pop and rap into his music, while 2018's Crush merged spoken word performances with intense sound design.
Rönnberg's musical roots lie in black metal, but he became interested in electronic music through early U.K. dubstep producers like Mala and Loefah. He doesn't particularly listen to techno, however, and points to trap and hip-hop artists such as Gucci Mane and Drake as inspirations, especially because of their prolific output. He works at a similarly quick pace, recording music at the spur of the moment based on whatever equipment he has at hand (particularly his iPad, which he claims to use on every track). While his music seems grim and isolated, his online presence is a bit more candid, and sometimes provocative -- he's been known to post pictures of himself sporting expensive designer clothing and champagne bottles. He's become somewhat notorious for criticizing the supposed underground music scene, claiming that it's just as material as the mainstream music industry, and that he's made more money for his live gigs than he did when he was a teacher.
Rönnberg's first recordings as Varg appeared in the form of 2013's Misantropen LP, the debut release on Northern Electronics, as well as two limited cassettes (Skaeliptom and Nanefter) on other labels. He also began collaborating with Linell as Ulwhednar, and with Michel Isorinne as D.Å.R.F.D.H.S. Varg's Gravrösens Bortglömda Band EP was released by Spanish label Semantica Records in 2014, followed by Linje 19, a collaboration with Hypnobirds on Clan Destine Records. Varg had a particularly prolific year in 2015, bringing the LP Story of K, double LP Ursviken, 12" EP Variations, cassette Under the Roman Lash, and six-tape set Star Alliance (his first Posh Isolation release), which was issued as a double LP the following year.
In 2016, he collaborated with Hvide Sejl (Loke Rahbek) and Frederik Valentin on a four-cassette release titled Brazil (also subsequently released as a double LP). He also released Heroine and En Ros Röd Som Blod, the first two parts of his highly personal Nordic Flora series. This continued with 2017's Gore-Tex City, which featured collaborations with Yung Lean, Drew McDowall, and Alessandro Cortini, and became Varg's most acclaimed release to date. Outside of the series, he released an EP titled I'll Hold You Till We Die on the Jealous God label.
In 2018, Varg and Rahbek's Croatian Amor alias collaborated on an experimental ambient EP titled Body of Water. Varg continued the Nordic Flora series with Crush, which featured spoken word performances from AnnaMelina and Chloé Wise. Varg and AnnaMelina also collaborated on an ambient release titled Welcoming Elegance. ~ Paul Simpson, Rovi

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