In the heart of Oslo a place exists that’s a store, but also a refuge, a social hub, a job for some and a way of life for a dedicated few. It’s one of the last remaining record stores in the world that is still built around a sense of community, where regular customers come in not only to buy the latest records, but also just to hang-out, have a chat and listen to music.
The store, well it’s Filter Musikk and at the heart of the store is Roland Lifjell – proprietor, DJ, producer and facilitator. Always at hand with a new arrival or an old favourite, he’s eager to distill some of his experience and advice down to the next generation. He spends six days a week at the counter, personally serving every customer that steps through the door, and when he’s not there he’s either DJing, sorting his personal collection or working on his own music.
With a meticulous knack for picking new releases, Filter Musikk’s selection is eclectic yet esoteric. Walk amongst the shelves and it’s as if it exists purely for you, and regardless of taste or interests, there’s always something to be found. From the used, bargain bin selection to the sections for every Techno or House label in existence, you are always spoilt for choice at Filter Musikk.
At times it might be somewhat daunting, perusing the shelves, and especially the days when a new box of fresh releases arrive, so with the help of Roland and a whole lot of time on our hands, we present the cut with Filter Musikk. This week we start our journey at home, with a new batch of records from a local stalwart…
Rulefinn – Finnitus Edits #3 (Finnitus) 7″
We were in the store when (rule)Finn hand delivered his latest batch of edits to Roland and Filter Musikk. Roland could barely hold ‘em with his bare hands, that’s how hot they were. This is the third in a series of Disco edits (no duhh) Rulenfinn puts out via his own Finnitus label on the 7” format.
It’s Disco for a working man’s club, stripping down the sequence to reveal a fat man in a skin suit. A jiggling beer belly, a moist moustache and a pint glass in hand, two-stepping to an infectious beat, Rulefinn’s Disco edits cut back on the flair and glint of the originals for the barebones of it all; the beat, the bass and only a simple hook.
On this latest edition, Rulefinn provides two tracks, “Klabb & Babb” and “Eroding in Africa” anchored in the percussion and bass repetition. On “Klabb & Babb”, he adds a spacey dimension with strings and synths streaking their way through the composition, while on “Eroding in Africa” he turns his sights back to the motherland with Marimba and male vocal choir. It’s a disco edit… what more do you want?
Mbulelo Mehlomakhulu – Robotic People EP (Transmat) 12″
Some thirty years on and Derrick May’s Transmat records is still going strong with music that upholds that original ethos of the label from 1986. You can draw a definitive, unbreakable line between MS001 to MS089, with that essential futurist proclivity ebbing through the entire catalogue.
Mbulelo Mehlomakhulu is unknown, but his name suggest he might be South African. On the release he combines the explorative sounds of electronic music with the elusive timing of percussive rhythms from genres like UK Funky, Kwaito and Gqom. The rhythms of “Robotic People” and “Orchestration” and the synthetic marima on “Panacea” adds a very African flavour to this record, while it remains firmly grounded in its electronic palette.
Like Ursula K Le Guin’s tribal-ésque vision of distant planets, this records sounds like an alternate universe where Techno was developed on the continent of Africa instead of Detroit.
K-X-P – 18 Hours (Of Love) / Tears (Optimo / Mika Vainio remixes) (Svart/Öm) 12
It’s a House remix of a rock band! That takes us back a bit, back to the glory days of labels like DFA and bands like Hot Chip, to a time where Morgan Geist is remixing the the Raptures; The thin White Duke is editing the White Stripes and Chicks on Speed are proclaiming with intense fervour “we don’t play guitars!”
The Scottish bad boys of House, Optimo remix Finnish prog-psych group K-X-P’s 18 Hours (Of Love) in this vein. They barely hang on to the vocal of the original, offering a pumping nu Disco version instead of the dubby progression of K-X-P. You don’t necessarily need to be a fan of the original or even the band to appreciate this mix, as Optimo expounds on the energy of the original for a proper club workout.
And now a moment of quiet to remember Mika Vainio… What must be on of the legendary Finnish composer’s last recordings, K-X-P offer a moment of pause on the flip of this release with a very solemn remix of their 2012 track “Tears”. R.I.P Mika Vainio.
Bjarki – Oli Gumm (трип) 12″
Bjarki is a prolific producer. In 2016 we saw the extent of his talents when he released three albums in one year on Nina Kravitz’ Trip records, and after a short sojourn on his own label bbbbbb, he’s back on Trip with Oli Gumm, and yet it’s only been less than a year since he’s last release on the label.
For Oli Gumm he gets back to that big room Techno sound that launched his career with “I wanna go bang”. With the weight of the world coming down on that kick drum and exploding into the atmosphere around it, there is no mystery as to Bjarki’s intentions. It harkens back to his live show he played at Jæger a few months back, where everything from the music to the way he arranged the lighting is completely fixed on the dance floor.
There’s the odd curiosity, an atonal melody or mechanical sample that puts Bjarki’s mark on these tracks as the producer contrasts the heady nature of the music with some moments of weirdness. Alone these elements would not appear to work together, but through Bjarki they simply meld together, that all-consuming kick’s gravitational pull creating a black hole into the strange and mysterious world of Bjarki and musical mind.
Zarate_Fix, DJ Sotofett – Arjun / Afroz (Sex Tags Mania) 12″
Sotofett teams up with Zarate_Fix on this two tracker for Sex Tags. It’s Electro with a deep low end, swathed in the ghostly reverberations of synthesisers. Melodic treatments erring on the side of psychedelic and rhythmic patterns based on the UK sounds of labels like Swamp 81 bring a warped edge to this release.
Zarate_Fix is the producer behind the Sex Tags Australian counterpart, Thug Records. The pair teamed up for the first time in 2016 on Planetary involvement for ZF’s label and where they were still feeling the other out on that record, here they’ve managed to find a unique groove together.