What with all the costumes, masks, and other visage-obscuring efforts that have contributed to the mystique of Karin Elisabeth Dreijer, just seeing her face on the cover of her new album may be startling enough. Of course, just like the music on Fever Ray’s Plunge, the grisly nature of the image (seen above) demonstrates her determination to be something far bolder and more provocative than the more passive, pliable, and predictable female stereotypes on which the music industry so often thrives.
Taking a plunge into Dreijer’s sound world can be as unsettling as it is exhilarating. Even though the sometimes brutal yet oddly buoyant electro-pop of her (now-defunct) sibling duo The Knife remains a fundamental element of the songs she creates as Fever Ray, the project continues to expose her broad range of influences, from dark metal to African music to the soundtracks of David Lynch and Miami Vice to the work of Meredith Monk and Kate Bush (two other women who’ve been similarly fearless when it comes to demolishing conventions and exploring the properties of their astonishing voices). And while the cumulative effect can be as chilly as a New Year’s Eve party in Göteborg, there’s always a charge—and sometimes even a warmth—thanks to the stormy emotions and vulnerabilities that exist just below the surface. Hit play on our mix to hear the music that’s inspired her and catch the same fever.