LISTEN: Malmö artist puts sound of fizzy pain pills on vinyl and it's oddly captivating

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
LISTEN: Malmö artist puts sound of fizzy pain pills on vinyl and it's oddly captivating
Malmö sound artist Alexander Höglund recreates his experiment. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A Malmö-based sound artist has won unexpected global attention after putting out twelve recordings of effervescent pain-killers as a limited edition vinyl record.


The story has gone viral worldwide and has been written up by the international news agency Reuters. "It is beyond any expectation. I am beyond surprised," Alexander Höglund told The Local on Friday.
"I was thinking that my close group of highly enthusiastic sound artists are maybe going to like it. But of course it is super fun that a sub genre of art gets such notice." 
He said that he thought people appeared to find "something appealing in the silliness of it". 
The sound of fizzing pills held a powerful emotional appeal, which he had wanted to capture, he said. 
"For me this sound is loaded with childhood memories, but it also holds a promise that things will soon get better," he said. "Maybe it's getting rid of a headache or taking down your hangover, or whatever you need it for." 
"I also thought there was something humorous about going to the effort to put it down on vinyl." 
He ordered the pills on eBay from around the world and had them shipped to Malmö, before recording their different sounds in a high-end studio. 
The resulting record, SUBSTANCE, includes local Swedish favourites such as Alvedon, Treo, Apofri and Ipren, and international standbys such as Bayer Aspirin C, Anadin Extra, Dispirin Aspirin, and Nurofen.
He said his favourite was the Bayer pill. 
"It's the Aspirin C. It's different from the others, because it dissolves much slower, and since it dissolves slower it also generates a more fulfilling or satisfying sound," he said. 
Here is a video of Höglund meditating as Aspirin C is recorded:
As well as capturing his own feelings about the sound, he said, he wanted people to consider the different meaning it might have for someone with a chronic illness. 
"For people who are suffering from chronic pain, these things have a completely different meaning. A severe meaning," he said.  
Höglund, who comes from Kalmar and studied in Stockholm, said he felt Malmö was a good place for creative people.  
"There's a lot of opportunity for emerging artists in Malmö so that's why I'm temporarily here," he said. "I don't see myself as a permanent person." 
He pressed 150 copies of the record, which can be bought on his website for just 300 Swedish kronor. How many he has sold is, he says, "a commercial secret". 


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