What do you do if a supernova erupts not in deep space, but right outside your window?
This is the central question posed on the album art for Locus, the latest album from Sweden-based songwriter/producer/sound engineer Catharina Jaunviksna, aka Badlands.
It's a question posed again and again on these eight tracks, and again and again Jaunviksna's answer is simple: you explore it. On Locus, she seems to be observing some otherworldly energy and channeling it, fascinated by its Big Bang-era power yet rarely fearful of it. These songs are coated in cosmic dust and pieced together from as many elements as you'd find in a collapsing star's wake.
There are touches of Eastern music and synths that seem to impersonate sitars on "Sway", hints of Depeche Mode in the opening seconds of "Caramisou", and a danceable club beat that builds its way to ecstacy on "Echo". There are afterimages of Hans Zimmer's score for Interstellar, but rather than let the notes simmer and drown to build tension as the composer is wont to do, Badlands take each one of them into orbit before hitting hyperdrive to explore the next unexplored space.
Jaunviksna had this to say: "To me Locus is like watching a distant supernova through a telescope in a Spielbergy teenage room, that thing of peeking from a secure distance.
"I’m inspired by safe suburbia with a twist, and I strive to look at the world through a 35mm soft glow filter with a just-enough-eerie mystery to solve.
"That fragile balance appeals to me, and I think I need it to channel the thoughts, emotions and observations in which Locus evolved from."