Album of the week: Of Norway – The Loneliest Man in Space

Hiding in plain sight amongst the piles of records littered over the shelves of Roland’s Filter records, a stack of the same record makes a prominent pillar against one wall. Roland hands me a copy, “for Jæger”, he says, its glossy plastic sleeve demurely proclaiming its title as “The Loneliest Man in Space” by the Norwegian production duo Of Norway. “There are hints of Todd Terje there” says Roland who declares the album contains some of the best music the duo has produced to date.

Of Norway have been a significant feature on the Oslo musical landscape, both on record and in the booth, including their electric live sets. Regular features at Blå, Villa and Jæger, with releases on Bogota, Darkroom Dubs and now Connaiseur records they are not exactly newcomers and have cemented themselves in Oslo’s vast music scene distinguishing themselves amongst the purveyors of Deep House. Their name identifies their sound as that informed by the region where space and atmosphere are vital ingredients in the make-up of their music, and while their work certainly warrants some comparison to Todd Terje’s earlier work, “The Loneliest Man in Space” has definitely travelled a long distance from anything like Space Disco.

Synths emulating the void of space with percussive elements hollowing out a deep trough, Of Norway sculpts a very particular sound for the album, existing somewhere between Jean Michel Jarre’s earlier work, Trentmøller and Lauer. It’s completely captivating as a sound, and by the time Linnea Dale’s vocals kick in on “Favourite Mistake”, you really feel yourself sequestered from the daily impulses around you, quite like the loneliest man in space. Deep, intoxicating and atmospheric, these are very much album tracks, and although there are hints to Of Norway’s more dance floor compulsions from early 12″ and EPs, The Loneliest Man in Space stands alone in their young discography as a very concise work.