“Innocence of Sound”: ionnalee Returns With an Ode to Dreaming in Dark Times

The iamamiwhoami singer is back with a sequel to 2014’s BLUE.

“I keep to the innocence of the sound, and it doesn’t stop coming ’cause I kick it alive…”

ionnalee is back.

If you’ve been a long, long time OG reader of MuuMuse, you already know her well, and can join me in fondly reminiscing about the simpler days of blog world.

For those who weren’t along for the ride originally, the singer first led us down the iamamiwhoami conspiracy wormhole as one of the first real “Internet mystery act” campaigns in 2009 with cryptic, tree-licking videos and strange coded messages alongside intriguingly odd, electronic productions. Stan sleuths scrambled to put together the clues on pop forums and comment sections to determine the identity of this strange, long-lashed forest nymph, landing on everyone from Christina Aguilera for the Bionic campaign (I wish, still!) to The Knife‘s Karin Dreijer to Alison Goldfrapp.

And after all that, her identity was eventually revealed to be none other than a brand new talent on the scene who’d successfully tricked us all into a panic: Swedish singer Jonna Lee.

Years after initially launching the audiovisual project, ionnalee has since pioneered a truly impressive independent career, putting out a string of records as both iamamiwhoami and ionnalee, touring around the world, collaborating with acts like Imogen Heap and Röyksopp, and delivering astounding virtual concerts – and, more recently, a baby boy. And now, nearly two years after 2022’s Be Here Soon, she’s back with a brand new record.

On Thursday (March 21), she officially announced her third album under the ionnalee moniker, Close Your Eyes, co-crafted with longtime collaborator Claes Björklund, and due out on June 21. (And to accompany the release, she’s also releasing the twin Swedish language accompanying version, Blund.)

Ahead of the record, which she describes as a sequel to iamamiwhoami’s stunning 2014 album BLUE, she’s provided us with the first taste of the project in “innocence of sound.”

”It’s about how to dream in a dark time and how to be someone like me, an artist who feeds off of that ability for a living,” she explained of the song’s meaning in a note posted on social media.

“How to get to a state of hopefulness, euphoria, sorrow in a time where the world seems less and less connected to other humans, to nature and to our future. I needed to make this album right now. How I find music, when made from the heart, still after working as an artist for 20 years, is a core element in my life. How crooked the view of music’s value is now even though it’s soundtracking our daily lives and can get us through the toughest of times.”

The synth-y production certainly does channel the piercingly icy, fresh sip-of-glacier water sound of BLUE, as well as a touch of Depeche Mode and Röyksopp.

The helpful message about finding refuge in creative fulfillment couldn’t be more needed right now, especially for the numb, depressive, anxious and existential crisis-prone, who may very badly need this gentle, gorgeous anthemic reminder to channel those emotions into some sort of self-expression and briefly shut out the seemingly endless barrage of horrors of the world. (Guilty as charged.)

Lay it down, let it soar, let it havе a life of its own…

She also provided insight into the making of Close Your Eyes.

“The album was made through 2023 which was a heavy year personally. People that I love are suffering, life has been really serious midst hard work and little rest, I spent a lot of time alone with my child during periods, so all awake vacant hours during the nights became a time for writing and recording as my baby has been sleeping. I’ve needed to get back to feeling whatever the incredible feeling I get when music is fun to make and listen to. And I did. Thanks to my community I was able to keep creating my worlds undisturbed.”

As for the Swedish record, she says: “I recently moved out of Stockholm back to the area where I grew up in Östergötland. I’ve begun converting this old farmhouse into a studio. Singing in my mother tongue gives my artistry a different angle and that feels really exciting – it’s like exploring a new language!”

And Jonna Lee shows no signs of slowing down: along with the song and album announcement, she also just revealed tour dates for a 2024 U.S. tour, which you can check out inside, and prepare to dive back into the BLUE.

ionnalee 2024 U.S. Tour Dates:

17 May – Philadelphia, Underground Arts
18 May – Brooklyn, Warsaw
22 May – Chicago, Subterranean
26 May – Denver, Oriental Theatre
29 May – Phoenix, Nile Theater
1 Jun – Los Angeles, Belasco
2 Jun – San Diego, Voodoo Room
4 Jun – San Francisco, Great American Music Hall
6 Jun – Seattle, The Crocodile
7 Jun – Portland, Wonder Ballroom
28 Sep – Stockholm, Fotografiska (360° audio visual experience)
29 Sep – Stockholm, Fotografiska (360° audio visual experience)

Buy iamamiwhoami and ionnalee albums on vinyl here.

Check out the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. You can also subscribe on Apple Music.

Photo credit: John Strandh

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