There’s a finite amount of music you can listen to in a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime. Thus we compartmentalise; we arrange music according to genre, artist, label and if you’re Spotify, moods, making our daily musical input more digestible, palatable.
But if you’re anything like us, your appetite becomes insatiable, the desire for new music leading you each day through an inescapable and unfathomable network of immersive rabbit holes. Very soon you’re in too deep, up to your neck in new releases, retro finds, old favourites and random peculiarities that don’t just stop with one release. Your head is spinning in a vacuous black void of the record and an insipid drone ensues.
Roland Lifjell is here to help. The proprietor of Filter Musikk and DJ stalwart has got your back. He’ll negotiate the mountain of shit, expediting the good stuff, the records worth your while, regardless of genre or style. There will be the familiar and the new, the rediscovered and the unlikely, but it will always seem specifically curated to your individual tastes. Isn’t that what a record store is supposed to be?
Few record stores today have the singular identity of Filter Musikk, providing Oslo with a regular influx of new records to discover and paw over with a specific focus on the DJ and enthusiast. As usual Roland Lifjell selects the best of these 12” and EPs for Jæger’s audience. These are the records where Jæger and Filter’s tastes converge and some, if not all of these will most certainly be making the rounds through our booth.
Jiska Huizing, Rudi Andre Valdersnes, Bjørn Torske – Drum & Trails (Ideophone)
A new Norwegian record label, Ideophone is the creation of Julie Silseth, Rudi Valdersnes & Jiska Huizing, with the latter two contributing to the first release from the label. Moving between the dance floor and the experimental realm, Ideophone set forth with a two track single with one extensive cut from the label co-founders and a remix by veteran producer and DJ, Bjørn Torske.
Jiska Huizing & Rudi Andre Valdersnes intrigues with “Drums & Tails”. While the bass and kick rhythms stay quite true to the purpose of the dance floor (albeit in quite an abstract way), the various additions give the track a very organic feel as it progresses through its extensive 18 minutes. What could have been quite exasperating is modulating all the time as elements of electro-acoustics and club music find an unusal common ground. There’s a certain humidity, like an Indonesian forest to the music that definitely cultivates a mood on Ideophone’s first release.
Torske completely avoids that mood, heads straight into a remix of the A side with Costa Del Torske. It’s classic Tørske with a percussive laden track urging the steppers on the floor with a repetitive shuffle and a 303 bass-line, flipping the script on the original. The swooping synth and pad that introduces the original is played in reverse at the end of the remix, as Torske interprets the title in very literal terms.
DJ Oblong – Speed Your Rage To Me (Rage Australia)
This one tracker evokes early Acid House, letting it congeal in a modern electronic music palette for a newer, younger audience. Lo-Fi meets its forefathers in this platypus pf a track. Yes, like the platypus this is a track made up of some very disparate and confusing pieces. An immense gated-reverb follows the kick, but instead of turning the clock even further back to the eighties, DJ Oblong stays put with a ratcheting breakbeat and liquid, acid bass-line. And from there it gets really crazy as layer upon layer is added like a collage coming together in a padded cell. “Qui est DJ Oblong???” asks one soundcloud user, but what he should be asking is more like “WTF DJ Oblong?”
Now you can also pretend to own one too! It seems Roland (the company not the man) have gone into the retail clothing industry. Instead of making T-Shirts and trainers, venerating past accomplishments why don’t they just get back to making 808 drum machines. And I’m not talking about that VST in a box; not that there’s anything wrong with a VST emulation either, but putting it in a physical box, kinda defeats the point. I’m talking analogue circuit 808. If acidlab can make a pretty decent, relatively affordable (relatively I said) clone of the original, why aren’t Roland. I’d rather have an original 808 than a T-Shirt, but yeah at least it’s not an H&M Metallica T-Shirt.
Andre Bratten – Un / Pax Americana (Smalltown Supersound)
André Bratten is a musical chameleon, and an aloof one at that. From his first album, “Be a man you ant” to his second “Gode” only a faint line distinction exists between the Nu-Disco sounds of his debut and the Avant-Pop electronica of the follow up. Actually not faint; oblique to the point of invisible. Throw in the brief encounter with the brutalist Techno of “Math Lium Ion” in the mix and you’ve got a separation of several degrees between consecutive works in his discography that almost feels like André Bratten is purposely messing with us. We would be upset if he wasn’t so damned good at it all.
“Un” and “Pax Americana” follow this trend but for first time ever we see Mr. Bratten offering a more resolute direction in his music. We’re sure it’s just mere coincidence but this latest release on Smalltown Supersound, bares at least some resemblance to his previous release, “Valve”, which forms part of larger series of releases we hope to see later in this year, but don’t hold your breath.
The mechanical consistency of “UN” is contrasted by the melodic serenity of “Pax Americana”, but together they have a similar nod to the likes of Aphex Twin and Autechre, looking back at an early nineties experimentalism mutating from within the larger body of Techno. There’s always a wispy thread through the Norwegian producer’s works and where André Bratten will end up after “Un / Pax Americana” is anyone’s guess.
Tessela, Lanark Artefax – Blue 01 (Whities)
Tessela’s “Glisten” immediately takes me back to the “Hackney Parrot” era. It’s the tension he so adeptly creates with the vocal sample and the stop-start nature of his rhythm section. Tessela keeps you on tenterhooks the whole way through and on “Glisten” he keeps that suspense consistent, with no release in sigh, which perhaps the subsequent track will provide. I’m afraid not.
Coming via Lanark Artefax, “Touch Absence” is even more obtuse in that regard. The young UK producer gives us more of the same with stuttering percussion and glitch melodic phrases that only resolve right at the end when they disappear into expansive ambient pads. “Blue 01” will be a perfect interjection in a set to that next phase, or just to mess with those people that are always waiting for “da drop”.
Juxta Position – Elixir (Figure)
Juxta Position is the alias of Mark Hawkins. O yes, you might know him better as Marquis Hawkes. He debuted his Techno-driven Juxta Position alias a few years back on DVS1’s Mistress recordings, and we’ve always kept an ear out for these releases. Erring on the darker spectrum of Tech-House and Acid, Juxta Position cultivates that mysterious quality that lies in the empty space between drum machine and mono synth.
On Len Faki’s Figure imprint he finds that atmosphere in droves between a 909 drum machine and the familiar squawks of a 303 bass synth. While his Mistress releases often added an alluring vocal to the mix, he favours a more functional purpose on this 12”. “Figure doesn’t often release very interesting music,” says Roland Lifjell about this release, “so it’s good to see that they’ve released something that’s ok”.