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It seems baffling that a songwriter as adept as Stockholm’s Simon Stålhamre, the gentleman behind Small Feet, is only now releasing his first record. Things apparently don’t get finished when one’s interest is always sprinting to the next experiment, and Stålhamre’s stumble towards discovery began around the time he decided to quit school at 15. He employed TV as his academic mentor – learning English from the American shows that dominated his small country’s schedules – while, all the time, building up a catalogue of songs. Blessed with twin talents from an early age, Stålhamre’s propensity for vanishing acts tended to overcome his flair for songwriting: whatever wonders he’d conjured up in his isolation seemed destined to remain hidden. By the time he met Jacob Snavely – an ex-pat American musician who started to nudge Stålhamre toward focusing more energy on his songs – the Swede had spent time as a nurse, a fly-poster, and a café worker, and was about to enroll in a course to become a city bus driver. Encouraged by Snavely, Stålhamre’s artistic emancipation was spurred on by the inheritance of one of a cluster of 18th century cabins on Södermalm, an island in central Stockholm. Owned by the government, the cabins are leased to artists in a typically Swedish gesture of social democracy, and Stålhamre’s uncle passed his contract to the cabin (named Kvastis) on to his musical nephew. Stålhamre converted the humble building into a recording studio for the band he assembled, with Snavely on bass alongside drummer Christopher Cantillo. It soon came to represent both refuge and breeding ground for Stålhamre’s prodigious creativity. Kvastis’ inspiration, coupled with Cantillo and Snavely’s assistance, helped Stålhamre finally discover an energy within him that even he couldn’t self-sabotage. Together, the trio created a brilliant debut album, From Far Enough Away Everything Sounds Like The Ocean, a vivid sweep of imagination, with each song streaking the blackness with the brilliance of their homeland’s aurora borealis. It’s definitely been worth waiting for.