Skar de Line is the solo music project of singer-songwriter, producer and composer Oskar Abrahamsson, a thoughtful, charismatic and innovative artist born and raised in Sweden and now based in London, England. Fascinated by the concept of boundaries and the human obsession for self-understanding, he fuses his love for cinematic soundtracks by such composers as Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL and Ramin Djawadi with hip-hop, alternative rock and electronic metal to create dark, unconventional music that takes the listener on a sonic adventure while giving us a lot to think about. The multi-talented fellow writes, performs, records and produces all his own music, as well as writing, directing and editing all his imaginative music videos.
I’ve featured Skar de Line numerous times on this blog, most recently last May, when I reviewed his single and video for “Reset”, the first chapter in his autobiographical suite of music. The song explores the concept of wanting to become a better person through continually evolving and reinventing oneself, but fearing that nothing will ever be good enough, expressed in the lyric “Every time I open my eyes I kill an old version of mine. But I’m not a murderer, no, I’m a maker./ Every time I close my eyes, I am already set to reset.” He followed in July with the second chapter “New Silhouettes”, a song about having the freedom to make your own choices in becoming whoever or whatever you want to be, with no limits on how many different options you can choose. Now he returns with “No Eyes in Paradise“, the third chapter of his personal journey of self exploration and the need to understand himself.
With this song, he ponders his own sense of self-worth as an artist, believing that he’s creating works of value and merit, but fearing that if no one else sees nor acknowledges it, does any of it mean anything? He explains: “You can be great, you can want to do well for yourself and for people around you, but if no one saw what you did, did it really happen? If your life work is something that the world does not care about, what is your life worth? And are there any limits to what we can’t do to get that attention, that worth? Throughout the lyrics, there is this growing frustration in the world around me, a feeling that I think every creator recognizes. A feeling that the world does not actually really get you.” For both song and video, he uses classical imagery to bring his message to life. Here’s a photo of him in a setting similar to the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting of Mona Lisa (in which he’s undeniably more attractive):
Though all of his songs have cinematic elements, “No Eyes in Paradise” is his most grandiose and melodically complex yet, blending dramatic choral and symphonic elements with bold hip hop beats and heavy electronics to create a magnificent soundscape. The song opens with a soaring gospel-like choral, then quickly segues into a dark trip hop groove, with harsh industrial synths and finger snaps as Skar de Line raps the opening verses. As the song progresses, the music alternates between trip hop verses and sweeping symphonic choruses, punctuated with delicate piano chords and gorgeous string synths. His emotive vocals go from seductive, slightly sinister rapping in the verses to impassioned entreaties in the choruses, creating a strong sense of tension and emotional angst.
I’ve got this presentation that will surely blow your mind This is an invitation to a god-damn paradise The only thing I ask for is another pair of eyes Cause what you never saw it never happened, right? No eyes in paradise No eyes in paradise No eyes in paradise No eyes in paradise As these doors are left wide open As my world turns in slow motion As these walls are steeped in gold Another bottle’s left unopened Another story on repeat Another comment obsolete Another invite went astray Another offer thrown away Did I bathe in the light Turn inside out Did I repaint the skies For empty crowds? Did I wait for too long? Have you all moved on? Am I the architect Left in paradise? I still got to trust in some kind of order Some kind of virtue for which you’ll adore me But I cannot leave it, you need to sign And I'm getting restless, I'm out of time How far do you go for wickedness to stop being sexy and just grotesque? If there’s a case, I haven’t found it yet I can’t imagine or believe that this is it Did I bathe in the light Turn inside out Did I repaint the skies For empty crowds? Did I wait for too long? Have you all moved on? Am I the architect Left in paradise? No eyes in paradise No eyes in paradise No eyes in paradise No eyes in paradise Like a lamb of God, like a torn façade Tearing up the scars with no regards Just come inside, I’ll break it down It’s a god-damn paradise How far do you go for wickedness to stop being sexy and just grotesque? If there’s a case, I haven’t found it yet I can’t imagine or believe that this is it If I offered you a piece of the forbidden apple Would you trust me to repaint the Sistine Chapel? Does it matter what I do or what I’ve done? Would you trust me now if I am the only one?
The brilliant video Skar de Line created for the song is his own interpretation of a perfect, but empty, paradise. Throughout the video, he recreates and inhabits some of the most renowned renaissance paintings such as The Last Supper (Leonardo Da Vinci), The School Of Athens (Raphael), and Saint Jerome Writing (Caravaggio), all in his desire to make something special that others will care about. He elaborates: “But like an architect left in paradise, a creator in a world that does not need more creations, I’m feeling like I’m falling behind and running out of time to make a difference. Maybe I’ve gone about it wrong. In the final scenes, as I’m leaving my paradise behind to walk out into the dark night, a thought goes through my head. Maybe it’s all a matter of perspective. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not what I do that needs to change, but rather the world in which I do it in…” His creativity and imagination, as well as technical prowess to be able to produce such a beautiful video, are truly impressive.
“No Eyes in Paradise” is Skar de Line’s finest work yet, and I eagerly await the next chapters in his autobiographical suite.