Escaping Your Ambitions: The 10 Defining Records of Underground Sweden

Service lived forever.

There is no “cause” for this. Except, possibly, the effect: desire already spreading along new lines, multiplying endlessly.

Service was a free zone, pop lab, gang turf and permanent vacation. Never an object, always a territory, like the uncertainty principle. That’s the main lesson I’ve been teaching. In that sense I gave to you my life, my ambition, my hope. And some haine of course.

And, as promised, Service is deterritorialising. Both are carbon, remember: the diamond turns into a pencil. It’s traces shaping nomadic paths.

And I hope the music become weapons in the hands of new partisans.

Now take it, it’s yours.
Ola Borgström, 2012

 

​It’s almost a year since Service closed its doors. A company born out of ambition and gang spirit, the Gothenburg (and later Stockholm) based boutique label, founded by one Ola Borgström in 2001, released some of the most important alt. pop records of the past decade. From the sadly departed Studio to the people’s prince of heartbreak Jens Lekman, Service provided the original blueprint that would go on to shape the Swedish underground scene throughout the early 00′s and, in turn, birthed three equally impressive (and inventive) labels – Sincerely Yours, Information and, more recently, US-based Cascine.

Jeff Bratton, Cascine’s founder, ended up running the spin-off label after PRing Service in the US. “For me as a lover of pop music, Service was one of the most influential European labels of the 2000s. Their vision for the genre was so rogue and so stylish. Service was a lifestyle. Like great labels before them – Creation, Factory, Sarah Records, etc. – a sense of culture existed around Service. This was intriguing. Cascine grew out of this approach – an extension of our admiration of labels with a focused aesthetic.”

This month, Cascine pays tribute to one of the Gothernberg greats via a reissue of Boat Club’s Caught The Breeze, a record that’s endured since its 2007 release. Bratton tells of his love for the record - ”Caught the Breeze is an undisputed gem that captures a really lovely slice of ’00s Gothenburg. It’s music for dreamers – subtle, wistful, transportive. Of all the incredible stuff coming out of that scene, the Boat Club material resonated with me the most.”

Call it what you want (as long as it’s not ‘Balearic’), the tropical undercurrent aligned with naked ambition that rippled through Service’s early output still hits as hard today as it did back in 2001 when Studio released their debut single ‘The End Of Fame’. “Try making a ring tone out of this, you bastards”, they said.

Here, we offer up ten albums from the Service family that attempt to capture the beauty of this indescribable, fluctuating, mad sound that melts our hearts, alongside an exclusive mix from Best Fit founder and former Service associate Rich Thane with artwork by long-time Service collaborator and artist Alexander Palmestål.