To Walk Around With a Fortune in the Brain


How this album has come to


This is for you who like jazzy blues-world fusion-trip hop. This album is the result of pure reward intoxication. Nothing in the creative process has been passed, which has not started the joy kick in the brain. A great artistic music experiment.


Below, I try to explain why I think the album reflects all the music I really liked in my life. Since I only let through that which created strong pleasure, I believe that it is possible to hear the US military jackets from the 60s, smeared by idol names and the rebellious long hair as I let grow in adolescence. The typical Swedish beer ”in between” and the first inhale (deep drag). The first kiss with a nervous and sensitive tongue. And the first tentative attempts to strum the intro of Satisfaction on Mom and Dad's guitar in the living room. Can one even feel a bit of cramp in the fingers of the invincible rock hard strings.

(”In between” is directly translated from Swedish regarding the alcoholic strength of the beer).


But it started in front of a black-and-white television at neighbors in Laxa, Sweden, autumn 1963. In the program ”Drop In”, led by Kersti Adams Ray, then played a completely unknown band from Liverpool. And this is perhaps the strongest musical experience I will ever have. The music took full hold of me. Like a flash in the little boy's body the music brokered a strong hope that anything was possible.


Then I could´t resist Stones, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jeff Beck before Purple, Sabbath and Zeppelin left indelible traces. Or later the grand and upright feeling such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, or Weather Report filled me with. And Chet Baker and Miles …


When computers came into the music picture were additional opportunities opened. Then the preconditions that create cool sounds became almost dreamlike. Artists such as Prince (with Sheila E.), Scritti Politti and Tears for Fears had great influence on me and the new technology got the inspiration to flow of creativity. Now developed perhaps the most sensitive and melancholy tones in my head, which is also associated with that I became a parent.


The music has ever since absorbed me and at the same time given me meaning to life. I'm a bit like ”Ferdinand the Bull” and like to sit under the cork oak tree with my guitars.


Scientists today express music's impact something like this: we tend to like music that creates a balance between what we recognize and what is new, the balance between the simple and the complex, and generally music that is similar to what we liked before - but not too similar - simply because it enables larger parts of the brain.


When we found the music that has the right balance for just us, we get increased brain activity that creates pleasure, sometimes so intense that we get goose bumps (piloerection). The increased activity of the brain also controls what music taste we develop.


Brain activity releases a chemical joy kick. Put simply, the joy kick is the evolutionary reward system we are provided with, which controls our behavior and actions, but we rarely are aware of. Read more under the heading below "Music Impact”


With this solo album, I wanted to let all the decisions in the entire musical process - to compose, arrange and record - be accepted only on the basis of joy kicks in my brain. I need to feel the pleasure of what I produce, otherwise I get to work until the chemical shower comes. No musical work is completed until the intense reaction attended. Therefore there is nothing to blame when the album now is finished. I had not been able to make a better album with the joy kick as my only decision maker.



This is a translation from my mother tongue Swedish. Me and Google Translate are becoming buddies and did our best to help you to understand this experiment and maybe you become aware of the rewards that about 90 per cent of us human beings experience when we listen to or create music. Simply amazing.



One example, when me and Google Translate did not agree: I have not slept in three weeks, it would be far too long.






Music Impact


In 2005 musicologists in Canada finally could show that parts of the brain (nucleus accumbens), associated with our reward system, is activated when we listen to music we like. This may well be a "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" center in the brain, one of the researchers actually put it.


But how can music activate the parts of the brain that otherwise is associated with our self-reward system?

When a living creature behaving in a way that benefits the species' survival, one gets a chemical joy kick in the brain. A system that increases the chances of survival. Fundamentally, of course, is to eat and to reproduce, which is giving reward with various feel-good substances. And also in many other contexts, not least social, we get our rewards. Even drugs go this pathway in the brain. But where does music fit in? Music does not have the clear survival benefit associated with food or sex, nor it shows the addictive properties associated with the abuse of drugs.


Nevertheless the average person spends a considerable amount of time listening to music, and see it as one of life's most pleasurable activities.


Now it is not only self-reward system that is cranking by the music. Music starts processes in the brain, which in turn triggers changes throughout the body. Nearly all brain regions are activated. This includes pathways, both in the brain's higher cognitive centers; in the cerebrum and in the lower more primitive center. Music causes activity in the part of the brain linked with the autonomic nervous system and can cause physical reactions such as sweating, sexual arousal and "shivers down the spine". Music can also among other things, change heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, brain waves, levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine and serotonin.


Whether you are aware of it or not, your brain is constantly trying to figure out what the next musical events will be, when you listen to music. Do you listen to music with the same musical language that you grew up with, you know what the continued possibilities are. Your brain has put together a statistical map of the most likely and least likely continued course of events. If the music continues to hit the most likely course of events, you will soon get bored. And if it always is the least likely, you may be irritated. This will of course vary from person to person. Some want more predictable events, others less. Some of us prefer safety front of surprises and vice versa. The point is that when you have found the music that has the right balance for you, you get increased brain activity and start to feel pleasure. This also usually affects the way in which we develop our taste in music.


We tend to like music that creates a balance between what we recognize and what is new, balance between the simple and the complex, and generally music that is similar to what we liked before - but not too similar - simply because it activates larger parts of the brain.


There is no specific genre that has greater impact than any other, no unique style of music that involves brain regions in a more sophisticated way than others. The music experience is individual and based on your preferences, that you actually started to build up at the fetal stage. The larger (positive) brain activity music creates, the greater impact the music has on you and the more you will like it. If you listen to music that does not start any activity in the brain at all, you will be rather indifferent to it.

But music can also create discomfort. If you hear music that you feel really bad about, it can cause activity in completely different parts of the brain, including the part that gives you "fight and flight response". You may be upset and maybe start to sweat and become really angry. Music has been used as torture.


The only thing that remains of the old hierarchical thinking about music and classification into high and low, is of course music as identity creator. One might think that only young people use music as identity marker, but it seems to continue more or less throughout life, according to two researchers.

First Swede...



First Swede...