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Big Takeover #81 Fall 2017
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Album Premiere: Sketchbook Traces by Sven-Erik Olsen

SvenErikOlsenPhotoCreditJasonKokal
8 September 2017

Sven-Erik Olsen; Photo Credit: Jason Kokal

The debut solo album from Minneapolis musician Sven-Erik Olsen, Sketchbook Traces, captures the Twin/Tone sound of bands like The Replacements with cerebral songwriting and a tuneful harmonic adventure. Olsen spent most of his childhood in a constant state between daydreaming and brainstorming.

With the responsibilities of work and raising a family, he filed away those ideas. It wasn’t until recently that he started going back to them. Olsen began closing his eyes and imagining dropping the needles onto side A of one of these imaginary records, and out poured music that he could hear as clearly as a freshly opened vinyl. The eight songs of Sketchbook Traces can be traced back to those notebooks, and pieces of those books can be found in each and every song.

Olsen explains, “After years of playing in ill-fated indie rock bands, I retreated into my basement studio for a while and through some poisonous combination of procrastination and perfectionism, I ended up kind of losing the plot and forgetting why I make music. The deaths of Bowie and Prince woke me from my stupor, their examples reminding me to be myself, not overthink it, just do what I do best and make a record I would actually listen to myself. The songs came pouring out, in a wide ranges of styles, with the dueling themes of escapism and mortality. I forced myself out of the basement and into a couple of great Minneapolis studios to quickly lay down the tracks and just put out the album before I could tinker with it forever.”

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