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The Reapers Along the Waves — Watch Kaelan Mikla’s Collaborative Video with Bardi Johannsson for “The Phantom Carriage”

The Phantom Carriage, a 1921 Swedish silent film directed by Victor Sjöström, is a seminal work in cinematic history, known for its innovative special effects and narrative depth. The story, based on Selma Lagerlöf’s novel, revolves around the legend that the last person to die each year must drive Death’s carriage, collecting souls. The film explores themes of redemption and moral consequences through its protagonist, David Holm, a drunkard who undergoes a profound transformation. Its influence extends to many filmmakers, including Ingmar Bergman.

Over a century after its debut, the enigmatic Icelandic darkwave trio Kælan Mikla (Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir, Margrét Rósa Dóru Harrýsdóttir and Laufey Soffía) and their countryman Bardi Johannsson have crafted a chilling new score for The Phantom Carriage.

The film, accompanied by this freshly penned score, premiered to a full house at the Transylvania International Film Festival 2023, held in a gothic church. Bolstered by the success of this debut, Kælan Mikla and Johannsson have released the score on vinyl, with plans to perform it live at additional venues.

The collaboration between Bardi Johannsson and Kælan Mikla blends haunting synths, ethereal vocals, and precise drum programming to forge a sound steeped in folklore and the mystical, all while straddling the line between traditional thriller motifs and brooding darkwave.

Watch the video for ‘The Phantom Carriage” below:

Order the soundtrack below on vinyl here, and listen to the album below:

Kælan Mikla burst onto the scene in 2013, originally forming to compete in a poetry contest which they won, sparking their foray into music. The trio quickly made a name for themselves in Reykjavik’s lively underground music scene, and by 2015, they had unleashed “Kalt,” a track that drew both national and international acclaim.

Known for their dynamic live shows, Kælan Mikla has charmed audiences worldwide, capturing the interest of The Cure’s Robert Smith. Smith, impressed by their performances, has repeatedly invited them to grace the stages of festivals he’s organized in both the US and UK. The band has also toured widely, appearing alongside notable acts like Ville Valo, Alcest, and Placebo, further solidifying their place in the global music community. Over the years, they’ve put out four albums through Toronto-based Artoffact Records.

Bardi Johannsson, the multi-talented Icelandic composer, musician, and writer, has carved out a distinctive niche in the music world. He is widely recognized for his involvement with groups like Bang Gang, Starwalker (his joint project with JB Dunckel of AIR), and Lady & Bird, which he formed with Keren Ann.

Johannsson has earned accolades for his extensive work on film scores, contributing to movies such as Nils Tavernier’s “De toutes nos forces,” David Guy Levy’s “Would You Rather” (in collaboration with Daniel Hunt of Ladytron), and Michele Civetta’s “Agony.” His expertise extends beyond films to encompass trailers, TV series, advertisements, documentaries, and theatre, collaborating with national theaters across Iceland and France. His compositions, often infused with a deep, haunting beauty, are regularly performed by orchestras across Europe, evoking powerful visual imagery through music.

Throughout his career, Johannsson has also partnered with a range of artists in roles as a co-composer, producer, or mixer. His notable collaborations include work with Keren Ann, Anthony Gonzalez (M83), JB Dunckel (AIR, Tomorrow’s World), Helen Marnie (Ladytron), Phoebe Killdeer (Nouvelle Vague), Sia Furler, Ólafur Arnalds, Anggun, and many others

Kælan Mikla are set to embark on their summer tour of 2024 on May 29th in France, supporting Chelsea Wolfe throughout Europe with headlining shows scheduled in between. See the full dates below:

Kælan Mikla Live Dates:

  • 29.5 – Lyon, FR – Transbordeur*
  • 30.5 – Biarritz, FR – Astabal*
  • 1.6 – Bordeaux, FR – IBoat
  • 2.6 – Nantes, FR – Le Ferraileur
  • 4.6 – Paris, FR – Elyse Montmatre*
  • 5.6 – Nijmegen, NL – Merelyn
  • 6.6 – Cologne, DE – De Kantine*
  • 7.6 – Berlin, DE – Astra*
  • 8.6 – Poznan, PL – 2Pogi
  • 9.6 – Warsaw, PL – Hydrozagadka
  • 10.6 – Vilnius, LV – Kablys*
  • 11.6 – Riga, LT – Tu Jay Zini Kur*
  • 12.6 – Tallinn, EE – Paavli Kultuurivabrik*
  • 14.6 – Jönköping, SE – The Hush Hush Club
  • 15.6 – Stockholm, SE – Slaktkyrkan*
  • 16.6 – Oslo, NO – Rockefeller*
  • 17.6 – Bergen, NO – Rokeriet*
  • 18.6 – Stavanger, NO – Folkestone*
  • 20.6 – Gothenburg, SE – Pustervik*
  • 21.6 – Copenhagen, DK – Lygten Station
  • 22.6 – Hamburg, DE – Gruenspan*
  • 23.6 – Prague, CZ – Meet Factory*
  • 24.6 – Bratislava, SK – Fuga
  • 25.6 – Vienna, AT – Arena*
  • 26.6 – Munich, DE – Technikum*
  • 27.6 – Brussels, BE – AB Ballroom*
  • 28.6 – Mainz, DE – SchonSchoen
  • 29.6 – Lärz, DE – Fusion Festival

Follow Kælan Mikla:

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Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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