Sweden's El Perro Del Mar (née Sarah Assbring) returns with her sixth album KoKoro. Written and produced by El Perro Del Mar and Jacob Haage, the 10 original songs of KoKoro are her most ambitious and musically adventurous to date, yet no less emotionally direct, covering themes that speak to both big and small matters of the heart. With the state of the planet – musically, politically, environmentally – on her mind since the birth of her son, Assbring sees KoKoro as not only an album but also as an aesthetic and political movement of sorts.
With soundscapes that echo of Thailand, Sumatra, India, Ethiopia, and China, the orchestration of KoKoro is unlike any of El Perro Del Mar's previous releases, a direction only hinted briefly on the Pale Fire LP highlight "I Was A Boy." It features the Chinese string instrument Guzheng, the Japanese Shakuhachi flute, various other Asian flutes, Arabic strings, Dulcimer, and rhythms influenced by Ethiopian music. The album was recorded with multi-instrumentalist Andreas Söderström, jazz bassist Johan Berthling, drummer Mattias Bergqvist, who has collaborated with First Aid Kit, and wind multi-instrumentalist Per "Ruskträsk" Johansson, who has collaborated with Robyn, José González, among many others.
First single "Breadandbutter" is about finding a means to communicate and find solidarity among people, while other songs on KoKoro implore for self-reflection and self-improvement across friendships, relationships, and life at large in an effort to reach enlightenment. And capitalism's arguably toxic effect on the human spirit is addressed wholeheartedly on the pleading "Ding Sum."