As high-gloss, pleasure-seeking, and conscious of hip-hop tropes as something you might hear on the radio, but also as bizarre, insular, and tender-hearted as the most limited of indie pressings. That’s been one of the defining paradoxes (there are more) of Sincerely Yours, the small Swedish label run by CEO sole proprietor Eric Berglund. And it’s in full, head-turning force on “Wonderland,” the newly shared title track from CEO’s upcoming second album, on its way February 4 with help from Modular.
In a way, reaching wonderland has been Sincerely Yours’ mission all along, whether in the idyllic sample-scapes of Air France or the zonked wayfaring of jj. Berglund’s sneakily influential duo the Tough Alliance were always looking for something — “something special,” “something bright and pure,” “gold that can’t be bought or sold” — and started one of their albums with a voice suggesting, “Why don’t we get away someplace?” On “Wonderland,” that place is dangerous and alluring, built from galloping electronic beats, swooping orchestration, and a brash, rap-based interlude. Curiouser and curiouser.
“What you gon’ do?” asks the voice of the rapper, who doesn’t sound like CEO, and the sonic landscape breaks down for a moment. From there, for a measure of just how bonkers Berglund can be, the track goes into an extended coda of him repeating, “Love and do what you will,” which is a reference to a song from his 2010 album White Magic, yes, but also — no, really — sage advice from early Christian thinker St. Augustine. Hear him out, revisit previous Wonderland advance track “Whorehouse” and its B-side Kanye West cover, and let CEO show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.