Recalling the Future with Twice a Man

by coldwarnightlife

Sweden’s legendary act, Twice a Man, have released a tour of their output between the years 1982 and 2022. The material is collected on Songs of Future Memories, a 3-CD compilation from Germany’s Dependent label, with two new songs and thirty-two from the band’s extensive back catalogue. The physical edition also includes a 72-page hardcover book with notes from Ecki Stieg.

The importance of Twice a Man to Swedish and European pop and theatrical music cannot be overstated. From the point at which they transformed from Cosmic Overdose, at the insistence of New Order’s promoter, the band has led from the front; both in terms of their styling and in their messages about the social and natural environment. They might have changed their name, but the group – organised around the core of Karl Gasleben and Dan Söderqvist – didn’t give up their affinity for psychedelic soundscapes or explosions of surrealistic energy. Instead, they set up structures within which new sounds could be formed and social concerns could be channelled.

As this compilation shows, Twice a Man have taken a much wider perspective than many of their peers; adapting to the shifting sands of fashion while maintaining a Brechtian distance that prevents them from being pigeon-holed. Are they prog or new wave? For the theatre or the dancefloor? Do they look at internal psychology or social movements? The answer is: any and all of the above, depending on the moment. There is no one truth about Twice a Man, but there is an organising principle to their material: it isn’t like anything else.

From the proto-techno of “Russian Tractors” to the pulsing symphonic movements of “High in the Clouds,” this collection is a master-class in European electronic music. Spanning forty years of work, Songs of Future Memories draws on an exceptional tradition of experimentation and composition. The two new songs presented here, “Lotus” and “Dahlia,” emerge from that crib impressed with a unique inheritance. Twice a Man remain a work in progress.


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