Skatebård’s debut album Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989 has become a coveted gem for the Discogs community in recent years. Fetching anywhere between €50 to €200 its collector’s appeal has installed the fairly inconspicuous album into the realm of left-field treasure, and with good reason. Originally a limited release on the small Tellé records sub-label Tellektro, the mini album is a modern classic today, but until now, you’ve only been able to find the record floating around on Discogs at eye-watering prices, traded like a commodity rather than the endearing electronic dance record it is.
Fortunately today we can finally get our hands on a relatively inexpensive copy of Skatebård’s debut with the first re-issue of Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989 in 2017 making its way onto record shelves everywhere.
The mini LP has stood the test of time and Skatebård’s analogue sequenced sound has only aged like a fine wine. The comparative energetic tempos to today’s standards are the only thing that eludes to its age, and densely textural compositions still stand-out amongst modern day contemporaries; utilising the same sonic palette that’s been informing electronic music since the eighties, but combining them in a way where they truly come alive off the temporal recorded format.
Skateboarding might have been a crime in 1989, but in 2002 in Norway’s electronic music scene, everything went anywhere and this album went some way in establishing a new Norwegian sound alongside records from Bjørn Torske and Prins Thomas & Lindstrøm, a sound that the media coined Space Disco, but travelled much further into unknown dimensions. Incorporating everything from Trance to Disco and House, records like Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989, laid the foundation for a whole new generation of music producer in Norway that would take the entire globe by storm throughout the first decade of this century.
Records like Trøbbel, Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas and Skateboarding was a Crime: in 1989 installed Norwegian electronica into the alternative popular consciousness at an international level, but unlike the aforementioned records it might have been somewhat overlooked in the past, appearing on a sub label in a limited pressing. The collector community never doubted its importance however and it’s due to those passionate heads that the album stayed relevant and probably in some part due to the excessive prices they were asking for their rare copies that the reissue eventually saw the light of day.
Today’s Skateboarding was a crime: In 1989 is ready for a whole new generation of music enthusiast to enjoy, while some of us to become reacquainted with an old friend.
With a bag full of records and a badabing in her step Karina joined Vinny Villbass in the booth one Saturday night in May. Bringing some soul to the cold electronic palette of House and Disco, she laid down some melodic bass-lines and old-school beats to a receptive audience on a packed dance floor in our courtyard. Karina brought an infectious physicality to her music, playing through the broad history of the dance floor from Marshall Jefferson to Boo Williams. Like a librarian, she catalogued everything from Hi-NRG to Electro House, the familiar crack of a needle on vinyl pulling the dust off old favourites and bringing them to a new audience, and putting us in the right mood for the weekend ahead.
This week’s album of the week comes at the behest of MC Kaman, who applauded Nosizwe’s debut album for its Jazz-touches and it’s approachable sonic nature. “In Fragments” sees the Norwegian/South-African songstress cement something definitive in the long player format, with her voice the guiding light for a musical accompaniment that saunters around elements of Hip Hop, Jazz and R&B. What she first established on “Do You” in the recorded format, sounds more moulded than ever around Nosizwe’s voice, emphasising the unique character of her vocal and proving new ground for pop music in the way of someone like Solange Knowles, the Weekend or Blood Orange.
The South African connection also feels stronger than ever with Nosizwe channeling everything from Miriam Makemba to Ma’Sibongile Khumalo and especially Brenda Fassie through her music, putting her own twist on this heritage through processed beats and harmonic-and melodic movements that step much further outside of any common musical language. From the walking double bass jazz lines of “Lesson” to the dusty sampled drums and horns of “Breathe”, Nosizwe paints broad strokes through her music and somehow they all conspire around her singular voice. Nosizwe’s vocals, whose dynamic range can go from sweet subtle serenade to a determined soulful eruption, are the bedrock from which all these elements are built and shape the album. And even with these diverse aspects informing the music there’s something complete and resolute about the album and Nosizwe.
Her musical identity is as complex as her own, and her lyrics offering some social commentary talks of subjects like the recent social unrest around South Africa’s universities through “Lesson”; #blacklivesmatter through”Breathe”, and touches on feminist themes in “Keep a good Woman down”. She weaves these politically motivations through her musical narrative like Erika Badu, not as a protest album, but rather an observational commentary on the current situation. It’s the amendable nature of the music that keeps you tuned into these themes with Nosizwe’s voice offering that human, visceral connection for the entirety of “In Fragments”.