The moniker for Swedish singer-songwriter Jonna Lee’s electronic project, iamamiwhoami is a very modern phenomena. After three solo albums made of classic folk-pop jams, Lee disappeared in 2010 to build a new identity – using nearly every trick the internet can allow you to get attention in the over-crowded music world. This included anonymity, strange viral videos with imagery related to an hallucinogenic-filled plant and tracks titled with numbers corresponding to letters of the alphabet: a calculated and complex artistic marketing scheme.
But musically Iamamiwhoami is far from being the far-out innovative girl she tries to present on screen, though she does have talent for pushing Swedish fellow artist Fever Ray’s dark synthetic sounds into more danceable grounds and make straight-forward pop tunes. Without watching her videos, the songs of Iamamiwhoami jolt the imagination. Here you see a cold river shining at the dawn of the day (‘Rascal’), there you hear fireflies spinning in a forest (‘Play’), and it often feels like a northern child tale made of warnings and frightening characters (‘Drops’).
In spite of all the artistic work surrounding it, this record doesn’t meet its own ambition. Kin has this quality of never choosing between catchy hooks and detailed instrumentations: the haunting voices in the background on ‘Idle Talk’, the sound of water flowing on ‘Sever’, the back and forth battle between synths and samples in ‘Rascal’, all is done to share the cinematic ambiance Jonna Lee is so obsessed with. But strangely, something’s missing after listening to these nine tracks, and all that’s left is the overall ‘modern soundtrack for a hike in the Swedish winter at night’ impression. Maybe iamamiwhoami is an animal a little too careful to discover its true potential for now.