We need a keeper at the gate of good taste. House and Techno’s popularity has reached the high water mark and inevitably a tide of shit has spilled onto the shore with it. With more music, comes more bad music, somebody once told me and we are in desperate need of a filter, a steadfast patron to wade through the muck to get to the gold.
Roland Lifjell has taken up the inglorious task of providing this service for Oslo and Norway and through his shop Filter Musikk he’s been the purveyor of good taste for over two decades. The shepherd to our herd, he’s saved a few of us from the innocuous drone of the boring by only presenting us with the records worth listening to and saving us from the rest.
Amongst the chaos of empty boxes, synthesisers and records at the Skippergata boutique store a calm order prevails. There’s some primordial instinctiveness that guides us through the shelves cataloguing the entire history of electronic music from House to Techno, and no end of hidden treasures waiting to be plucked.
Walk over to Roland’s “office” – it’s the cluttered section behind a pillar – and tucked out of sight, down on the floor, close to his feet a pile of records wait, still sealed in their plastic sheaths waiting to be encountered for the first time. These are the new arrivals. No, not the new releases. They are yesterday’s news and tomorrow’s classics and the records that are waiting for a place on the shelf. The records we’re interested in are the new news.
In what is becoming a weekly, although erratic tradition Roland gives us first dibs on these freshly acquired pieces and with the help of the veteran music head, we pick out a few of our favourites.
DJ Fett Burger, Dj Candle In The Wind, Macho Macho Burito Band – “Feed Me” Pizza Burger (B.L.A.D.) 12″ Limited Edition pizza box with magazine
It’s a record in pizza delivery box! The crew behind the illustrated zine, B.L.A.D have put together a compilation of music with a fast food theme, burned it onto a record, and slapped in a pizza box with the latest edition of zine. It’s one of those records where the presentation alone is enough reason to just get it, and throw in some music from DJ Fett Burger, Vilunki 3000 and Macho Macho Burrito, and there’s no reason not to get it.
Ok, that’ll be 450kr! If you’re not willing to part with that kind of money for a 12”, “don’t worry says”, Roland Lifjell, there’s going to be an unlimited 12” version of this record in the near future.
Although DJ Fett Burger’s artery clogging alter ego Pizza Burger is on the lid, it’s Vilunki 3000’s appearance on this record as DJ Candle in the Wind, Earth and Fire (what a great name) that steals most of the show. The Finnish DJ and graffiti artist’s flair for the eccentric, delivers two funky, esoteric horror-sci-fi-fast-food mashups for this release. “Pizzeria Zombie Miserable-Theme” and “Pizzaria Robot Woman Theme” are two cyborg-balearic cuts, pieced together like an institutional collage with guitars, eighties synthesisers, vocoders and drum machines colluding on the fringes of sanity.
Macho Macho Burrito slings a slinky bass hook over a new-age Disco arrangement in a very DJ friendly cut for a monosyllabic rhythm nation, while Pizza Burger orders last call at the counter. The squealing high energy House of Pizza Quattro Formaggi Senza Formaggio is instantly subdued by the rattling digestif of Pizza Hawaii Con Salsiccia E Vino, marking the compilation’s outro in a record that just shouting to get played.
Paranoid London, Bubbles Bubblesynski – The Boombox Affair (Paranoid London) 12″
Paranoid London pay tribute to LGBTQ activist and DJ, Bubbles Bubblesynski (Anthony Torres), who was shot and killed last year in San Francisco in what many are still claiming was a hate crime.
Paranoid London described the enigmatic DJ as the “exact kind of lunatic” they like to work with and although a collaboration had been on the cards between these two monoliths of electronic beat music, it never came to fruition due to Torres’ untimely passing. Instead Paranoid London ripped the vocal from the late DJ’s facebook page and strapped it to a slamming lysergic dancefloor workout as a fitting homage to Bubbles Bubblesynski.
Two versions, stripping the original down to functional DJ tools complete the release, but it’s all about the a-side on this one and the memory of Bubbles Bubblesynski.
Dominik Eulberg – Abendpfauenauge & Oleanderschwärmer (Apus Apus) 12″
Two pensive Tech-House tracks with a Lepidopterist theme mark the latest release by German producer Dominik Eulberg. Like Darwin on the beagle, Eulberg explores the natural world on “Abendpfauenauge” and “Oleanderschwärmer”, invoking the moth like he did the fauna and flora of the two previous releases of his Apus Apus label.
“Abendpfauenauge” and “Oleanderschwärmer” are long-form odes to the winged insect, biding their time through progressive arrangements and downtempo beats. A subtle beauty envelopes the the tracks as entrancing melodies flutter in random patterns through evolving themes. Swarming around the incandescent glow of the dance floor, 4-4 beats and a repetitive rhythm section keep the tracks from spiraling off into obscurity, with genial themes never wandering too far from their origins.
“Abendpfauenauge & Oleanderschwärmer” is a masterclass in composition for the electronic format from a sincere musical perspective and even if you’re not necessarily a fan of the artist or this style of music, you have to admire it for its technical perfection and melodic beauty.
Legowelt – Omnibus Babylon EP (Clone West Coast Series) 12″
Legowelt continues to make incredible music by that old Bunker adage: That the music they’ve pedaling is still the ultimate sound of the future. It’s the sound of the future as it was some thirty years ago but for people like Helena Hauff it “still sounds more futuristic than anything else”.
Legowelt has been making this style of music for as long if not longer, and although his creative pursuit changes, the music he makes still lives by this unwavering code. Ominous Babylon might be a Clone record, but there’s an unbreakable line connecting this record with his first record for Bunker, “Pimpshifter”.
Clattering atmospheres on beds of mossy synthesisers and rubbery bass-lines bounce and retreat through syncopated beats over four tracks that are unmistakable Legowelt creations. There’s always a cavernous depth to Legowelt’s music which he achieves through the wispy tails of his arsenal of classic synths, enveloping the listener in a mantle of sound. While the title track is Legowelt as minimalist as he can get, the outro “Golem Memory Bank” tips the other end of the scale, bordering on the ambient realm.
There’s no real urgency to add this to a Legowelt collection, but the ardent fan will have to have it, and if you ever needed to get into Legowelt, why not start here. It’s as good a place as any.
Steven Rutter & John Shima – Step Into The Light (FireScope) 12″
FireScope is the brainchild of B12’s Steven Rutter after making a triumphant return to music a few years back, bringing the B12 name back into everyday circulation and stepping into a career as a solo artist while establishing FireScope records at the same time.
It’s a busy label with an unusually large catalogue (considering its years) and a striking visual aesthetic. It’s an extension of the artistic persona behind the label and in many ways it’s the continuation of the B12 sonic identity. Steven Rutter as the main aesthete, has assembled a group of artist around the label in pursuit of his artistic ideology, including John Shima.
Rutter joins Shima on “Step Into The Light” with an EP of DIY electro cuts, soundtracking the future of a parallel timeline, broken from the present back in the nineteen-nineties. Rutter’s always providing some musical narrative to a science fiction novel playing out in his imagination and on “Step Into The Light” the addition of Shima only bolsters this affect.
Percussive parts are pushed way back into the distance, where they form part of a complex entangled aerie of sound. The presence of legato synths mobs every track with lethargic melodic layers intersecting each other in a measured progression that extends a single moment of time infinitely.
“Disjointed Route” with its detuned, bouncing melody is the most curious of tracks on “Step Into The Light” and for those that require a bit more urgency in their music, “A New Day” provides a more immediate pulse.