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Prolific Swedish electronic producer Tom Wolgers is a heavy favorite around ISC. The under-the-radar artist, who moonlighted as a fashion model, issued a series of records starting in the early 1980’s, most of which have been overlooked by the masses and knowledgable collectors alike. Wolgers died last month in Stockholm, but his work is as relevant as ever.
Varied and approachable, Wolgers created music that ranged from highly-produced, synth-driven Euro-pop and downtempo to extremely beautiful ambient and modern classical-adjacent sounds. His obscurity is understandable. He issued his personal forays in dance and the avant garde through ultra limited pressings on his own IVM (Industrielle Volk Musik) imprint. His more pop-leaning stuff came out through the equally microscopic Mekano Records. Regardless of how he delivered it to the public, his work has a signature sound that, no matter the genre, exudes this luxuriant Wolgers-ian atmosphere.
Though all of his physical releases command hefty prices online, a lot of rips can be found on YouTube.
Below, a little retrospective of some favorites. Rest in peace <3
Mockba Music – Exil (1983)
Wolgers’ musical career started off in this synth pop trio along with the more new wave focused group Lustans Lakejer. Of all the Mockba Music releases, songs like “Betaville and “Någon som du” are highlights.
Paris Bizarre – Black and Blue (Really Blue) (1985)
This is the only Wolgers track on a mostly unlistenable and psychotic electronic compilation called Mekano Christmas Party. “Black and Blue” is a moody, candle-lit late night tune full of longing, restlessness and heartbreak.
Paris Bis – Unis Dans La Nuit Unique (1986)
Maybe his most popular as the duo Paris Bis, the 1986 12” version of this B-side to “Body & Soul” is a great representation of Wolgers’ downtempo pop mastery.
Tom Wolgers – Collage (1986)
Released in the winter of 1986, this entire EP is an incredible listen — a mixture of stripped-down piano tracks, classical guitar and ambient-leaning textures.
Tom Wolgers – Rush Pop (1986)
This 10-minute exercise in production and percussion is a mid-tempo burn into unreal balearic dance territory.
Tom Wolgers – Vinterpassage (1987)
The mini album Stockholmssviten is one of his more ambient and new-age-focused record. Full of sublime tracks like this gem.
Tom Wolgers – Ljudkonstruktion No 3 (1987)
Another release limited to 100 copies release; according to the uploader, the track is pitched down (for good reason).
Tom Wolgers – Hommage A Le Corbusier (1987)
Hommage is another 12” mini album in the more ambient/modern classical realm. The beautiful piano and vocal synth-driven “A Le Corbusier” is a clear standout. The album also contains the gorgeous digital piano lullaby “Hommage A Gerrit Rietveld”.