If you don't know anything about Karin Park and her universe here's the short: your life is not complete.
When I first met Karin a warm night in China 2009 it took us about seventeen seconds to realize we both died every time we heard The Forest, that David Bowie was a God and that we were both enchanted by Daniel Miller's releases, Factory Records, Some Bizzare and the new-wave signings at Virgin in the 1980s. Early on in our conversation Karin reminded me that those scenes were predominantly male. She noted that there'd never been a female community of musicians and performers in the past that any woman could really look to as an example. She'd been young when she was first signed to a record label and it had taken her a few years to find her future. Despite all the awards and the success of her first album Superworldunknown (2004) she'd now moved on to a place where that title actually rang more true to her.
With her new album Ashes To Gold (2009) she'd crafted something far more complex and exciting than before. Music and lyrics were now based in a darker and deeper sensation. She'd found new sources of inspiration outside the main fairways. She'd turned to neglected musical explorers and marginalized literary writers of the past to find her new frontier. She'd made her churchly upbringing an asset by making heaven and hell come alive in her lyrics. She'd also found a new community in Norway, including Fredrik Saroea, Serena Maneesh and Kjetil Nernes of Årabrot.
Like minded people of great diversity.
She asked if I'd like to join her team. I said yes. And thus, together, we entered the financially suicidal area of alienation of the many. Plotting and scheming. Karin moved to London to record. Worked hard. Always. She dressed in Rick Owens platforms and hung out with people that meant something to her and her art.
With the two next albums Highwire Poetry (2012) and Apocalypse Pop (2015) Karin then took everything to a whole new level. The whirling stream of songs, sounds and stories on these albums will float you to hidden places in strange parts of some parallel universe if you submit to them. Well crafted, dancy and driven.
They also include a number of notable collaborations with creative geniuses like Christoffer Berg, Johnny McDaid (Bending Alberts Law) and Guy Chambers (Human Beings).
Her live show became widely talked about. Tall and radiant Karin reminded us of Ziggy Stardust. The range and expressiveness in her voice is extremely rare. Karin had now become important in the new episodes of that fucking brilliant carnival of eccentricity that we had begun talking about years earlier in China.
It was a treat to see that people of great taste appreciated her boldness and consistency and how her fan grew constantly because of that.
Our contractual partnership ended but not our friendship. She flew on, stronger and higher than ever before. She wrote the winning Norwegian song Feed You My Love for Margaret Berger in the Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest 2013. She performed the role of Fantine about 80 times in the most popular Norwegian musical of all time, Les Misèrables, in Oslo 2017. Karin is now a regular performing artist at Berghain in Berlin and has built her own recording studio in her church in Dalarna. As one of a very few producers she now offers a female presence and safe house for female recording artists in the conservative and male dominated music-recording business of our time.
I've now listened to her new EP “Blue Roses” which is to be released in November. She doesn't seem to feel any fear or care one bit about trying to streamline songs only in order to adjust to the current trends in pop culture. She does what she likes. It's bare, mature, organic and rooted. The voice is more bluesy and the lyrics seem angrier now. More protective of the terroir that she's created.
You'll be greatly rewarded if you catch up with Karin Park and follow her new adventures. Especially if you love the universally beautiful, the objectively meaningful and the historically powerful.
Personally I don't feel I deserve a reward for that small of an effort, so I'll just settle with being eternally grateful.
- Carl Blom