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Sassy 009

Sassy 009. Photo: Jacqueline Landvik
  • Artist:
    Sassy 009
  • Year:
    2017 – 2021
  • Awards:
    Drømmestipedet Bylarm 2018, Spellemans nominated 2017, musikkforlegger prisen
  • Highlights, Live:
    Øya, Fieldday, Roskilde, Way Out West, Melt, Europeen headline tour
  • Highlights, press:
    Pitchfork: Sassy 009’s “Are You Leaving” Is Excellent Experimental Pop

“‘Heart Ego’ is the most ambitious project I’ve done so far in my career, yet the project I have had the most trouble defining. Framing it as a mixtape was like finding home. The actual structuring and understanding of my compositions is simply a result of how I think it should feel, and not necessarily in line with a structure someone else completely understands.”, explains Sunniva Lingård aka SASSY 009 on her mixtape. Those who’ve followed the path of Oslo-based Sassy 009 and the constantly fluid, blurred edges of her hallucinogenic pop, will know that she’s an artist that follows emotion and mood, over strict narrative and composition.

Perhaps unusually – at least in terms of Sassy 009’s output to-date – there is an element of hauntology to proceedings; Lindgård talks of looking back to before she was born, to the linearity of greats from Madonna and Queen to Kate Bush and Joy Division. Heart Ego sounds little like any of these acts, but their sense of what she calls “realness” speaks to Lindgård – a shameless element to each of these artists who are fully committed to their artistry’s character.

“I chose to call this mixtape Heart Ego in a moment of realization,” she says. “I am still conflicted in terms of understanding my aim with my music. Is it a gift to myself and other people, or is it a narcissistic act that I legitimize through the argument of ‘sharing’ goods with others? I’ve never been afraid of claiming my position, but I find myself afraid of being misunderstood. Naming the mixtape Heart Ego was just right. This type of, I would say, self-interest had to be pretty straight up in-order to make sense.”

That focus on the artistry – and awareness of its potential pitfalls – could burden some artists, but for Sassy 009 this honesty and self-reflection acts to lift the weight from her shoulders and allow her to explore the minutiae of her work. It’s perhaps partly why the eight tracks here feel as light as candy floss even as they so often remain fixed to the dancefloor. There is certainly introspection here, and self-analysis, but never at the expense of the endorphin rush of energy that seems so central to her music.

That’s typified in the mixtape’s lead-off single Blue Racecar. A shimmering track that accelerates and glides through skittering breaks and contorted sub-bass, it sees Lindgård’s vocal drift overhead, occasionally dropping down to bob and weave amidst the textures. Extending its playful element, this track’s been transported into a game via SASSY009.WORLD - an interdisciplinary oasis where music, film, graphic design and web design and development meet, made in collaboration with Boden Studio.

Sassy 009 operates at similar velocity on Ego Heart Ego, but shifts the balance slightly into the shade, the track possessing a darker hue, plunging down into the lower frequencies as its liquid rhythms hurtle onwards.

As said, though, this is a mixtape and so – although there are threads here – each track pushes forth with its own unique identity. Opener Forever Seventeen starts out a formless fug of noise detritus, before widescreen synths and Lindgaard’s vocal emerge as though a mirage.

Mystery Boy is more crystalline in its production, beats harder-edged and electronic pulses darting around each other as opposed to merging together. Contrast that with Red Plum, with plays on minimalism, relying on a handful of surging currents to bounce around the cavernous space before the atmosphere is cut through with squalling guitar. Heart Ego unmistakeably bears the mark of Sassy 009 throughout but the directions it turns within that are thrilling.

The bulk of the release was written throughout the winter of 2019 into 2020 in Lindgård’s mum’s apartment, before being re-recorded and produced in Luft Studio with friend and colleague Baya, discarding a lot of the original ideas and whittling it down to the hazy-yet-taut pop that remains.

“Ultimately with this I want to prove that I am a better musician today than yesterday” she says. “And feel that the risk of spending tremendous amounts of hours in my bedroom was worth it. I think that’s the biggest concern, more than a statement, that my time has been spent well.”`

Listening to Heart Ego it’s hard to deny that it hasn’t. Sassy 009 remains a singular project, a hyper-pop project that feels like its hurtling through space, a balance of acceleration and phantasmagoria, of physicality and weightlessness.