Stainwasher – Helga Natt (O Holy Night)

It’s nearing Christmas time and plenty of Christmas covers are going to be released throughout the festive season. Over the ages, ‘O Holy Night’ has been covered plenty of times and many have tried to recreate the Christmas classic in their own style. Up and coming Swedish artist Stainwasher successfully injects her brand of immersive dreampop in her Swedish cover of the carol.

Earlier this year Stainwasher released her debut EP ‘What Did I See’, quickly rising to become one of the most promising experimental acts in Sweden, receiving praise throughout the continent as well. Her debut EP was stellar, synth-tinged and organ-laced with soft, echoing vocals tying everything together. She has stated Slowdive as one of her inspirations, and her work certainly has that shoegaze immersiveness, mixed with the dreampop of Cocteau Twins and the experimental Dead Can Dance.

‘Helga Natt’ (the Swedish title of the song) starts with the organs and her echoing vocals and a choral background sound. Although the combination is all encompassing, her vocals create a feeling of airy lightness to the tune. The synths and a beat kick in nearing the end adding another layer to the beautifully put together tune. It all crescendos rather powerfully, but it is captivating and empowering, in a way carols and Christmas spirit tends to do.

‘Helga Natt’ is very popular in Sweden, with singer Jussi Bjorling’s version a must-play when around Christmas time. With her love for the tenor singer’s iconic rendition inspiring her to create a version of her own. On the release, she has mentioned how what’s important about Christmas music to her is to be able to sing it together, and has shared memories of running around her parents’ house singing Christmas choir songs with her sister in a recent interview. It is clear from the notes of the choir that more than just a mere artistic cover, it is also a rather personal rendition. A beautiful rendition in fact, that combines Christmas solemnity with the artistry and talent found in her other works. With an album to be expected, it is hoped that along with this rather lovely Christmas present, Stainwasher will continue to surprise and charm us in the new year.

Aradi Priyanto

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