Roland Lifjell has never taken a holiday in his life. The word “holiday” and others like vacation, relax, leave, sojourn, break, trip and tour have no place in his vocabulary. Mention these words to him and a blank stare is all you’ll get as he rifles through virtual record catalogue numbers in his extensive memory bank, searching in vain for any reference to these terms; only ever arriving at some synth pop references from the eighties.
Roland Lifjell doesn’t take holidays and the only time his Filter Musikk might close early or unexpectedly if he’s engaged in that other musical endeavour, DJing. Every aspect of Roland Lifjell’s leisure and professional pursuits is dedicated to the craft of music; electronic music for DJ use, specifically. While most of Oslo went up to a mountain cabin hiding easter eggs on ski tracks, Roland Lifjell was unpacking yet another box for records to adorn the shelves of Filter Musikk, and has given us a sneak peek at some of the new arrivals.
After a short hiatus (unlike Roland, we do know what a holiday is) the Cut with Filter Musikk is back, and Roland gives us first dibs at the latest records to come into the store, and together we select some of the most exciting pieces for this feature. These are not the records that have been hyped or endlessly shoved upon us through incessant “tastemakers” before anybody has even heard a note, this is the music that is here and now, and currently spinning somewhere on a turntable to the delight of some nocturnal revellers.
Telephones – From The Vaults 1998-2018 Vol 1 (European Carryall) 12″
Telephones digs through his archives in the first release of his newly established label, European Carryall. “From the vaults” is exactly that and in the first in the series we find Telephones complimenting the effervescent House sound that he’s been cultivating as an artist, since 1998 it seems. These previously unreleased pieces find their way out into the world for the first time in remix form where they sound contemporary and relevant to what Telephones has been releasing in recent years.
Since releasing “The Ocean Called” on Running Back, Telephones has only fortified his position as one of the most exciting House artists to emerge out of Norway in recent years. An LP, “Vibe Telemetry” and EPs for Klasse Wrecks and Sex Tags, has cemented his sound as playful melodies, hand percusssion and syncopated beats establish the bedrock from which the producer create alluring dance floor pieces.
“From the vaults” trains all its efforts from the DJ booth, with three stripped-back House tracks with a perfunctory purpose, while retaining that melodic dimension in Telephones’ music. Energetic beat constructions lined with soft, atmospheric pads and upbeat melodies are at play on every track. “Amerikadegåri’s” bell-jar, balearic hook sets it apart from the excessive percussion of “Hurricane,” while “Aquatrack’s” funky bass line bobs up and down on a stream of languid synthesisers and sampled atmosphere.
Mystica Tribe – DJ Sotofett’s Dub Ash Mixes (Solar Phenomena) 12″
Sotofett takes on Mystica Tribe with three dub mixes taken from the Tokyo producer’s last EP for Solar Phenomena. Sotofett wrestles the original from its polished exterior, taking the enigmatic beauty of Mystica Tribe’s work and turning it inside out; exposing a raw, fleshy side to the tracks through his processes.
Like the original dub masters of the seventies, Sotofett wields the mixing console like an instrument, imposing his own design and desires on the music, which err on a darker side. The result reveals something sinister edge from the Mystica Tribe originals. As sparse melodic pieces fold in on themselves through delay and heavy bass mutations pulse through the tracks, Sotofett takes the dub method further adding his own, new pieces; new percussive parts and 303 bass lines adding Sotofett’s distinctive voice to the compositions.
The Norwegian producer coaxes another world from just a few basic elements of the original, and arrives at a completely different dimension to his Japanese counterpart, where the serene bliss of the originals are subverted and a brooding kind of glow envelopes all these tracks.
Bambounou – Whities 021 (Whities) 12″
There’s new life being channeled into London’s electronic music scene and it’s thanks to Whities. After dubstep there was a severe lull in underground electronic music as artists and producers fell into conformity, chasing a thread to Berlin, Chicago and the past in their music. The experimental nature of Dubstep, and some of the tenants that would follow directly after soon disappeared as most fell into familiar versions of House and Techno, and innovation ceased to exist, but for the last few years, Whities has been revitalising that aspect of this scene.
Familiar names like Tessela, Overmono, Avalon Emerson and Kowton have contributed to some 30 records for the label alongside new talents like Giant Swan and Lanark Artefax. For the lastest release however Whities has turned to a stalwart of the post-dubstep London scene, Bambounou.
One of the original innovators, Bambounou has been making left-field club music since 2010, releasing records for labels like 50 Weapons. He joins the Whities catalogue for the first time as they turn 21, with three tracks that will test the limits of the listener’s perseverance. Referred to in some respects as rhythmical noise, Whities 021 roams the outer edges of dance floor conventions for a more cognitive, experimental approach to electronic music.
“Seize-Sept” is the closest we get to familiar club music, but even that track with its stammering kick and wayward synthetic textures hardly speaks to a common denominator on the dance floor. With a minimalist’s touch, Bambounou tests the limits of metre and time in three polyrhythmic constructions. Melody is contained in the percussive element as synthetic chatter pads the space between the melée of percussive parts. It’s a record for the more adventurous DJ, or discerning electronic music enthusiast but played at the right moment, it will undoubtedly have staggering effects.
999999999 – 000000005 (NineTimesNine) 12″
It was only a few weeks back that we first caught sight of Techno outfit 999999999, and now we can’t get enough of them. Rave Reworks introduced us to the anonymous Techno outfit in no uncertain terms as they crashed into our purview with an onslaught of hoovers and stabbing keys that harked back to the elusive energy of rave music’s early days.
On the follow up to that record and the fifth release on their NineTimesNine imprint, they retain that level of energy as 303 bass lines weave their way through excessive kick drums punching holes in muggy, noisy atmospheres. 999999999 siphon a little from the past into their work through the familiar soundscapes they perpetuate on this release, but place it in a contemporary dialect as minimalist constructions and a simplified rhythmic- and melodic patterns prevail.
They retain an imprudent energy on 000000005 beyond the excessive tempos; something immediate that will either force you into the music, or scare you away. “0000000006” is a personal favourite with elements of EBM and Acid, retrofitted for a post-apocalyptic musical future.
DJ Sports – Akrasia (Help) 12″
When DJ Sports played at Jaeger a while back, he gave us an exclusive taste of the direction future works will go. Ending his set on the break-beat jungle track that would become “Adaption”, it was an exciting development in the course of the night and one that stayed with us since.
On the latest record, for he and brother Central’s, Help Recordings, he perpetuates the vibe of the previous EP, in a break-beat, jungle-ish track and a couple of remixes. “Akrasia” is a progressive track with many peaks and troughs cultivating different moods throughout its 9 minutes. Ambient textures and dub melodies set a serene tone for the track before it explodes into ratcheting break-beats. No, one element dominates the other, and in it DJ Sports finds an unstable equilibrium where the unrestrained energy of the percussion is somewhat subdued by the half-time bass figures and languid melodic- and harmonic textures.
Since 2017’s Modern Species, it’s a sound that DJ Sports has perpetuated in the studio, putting the young producer, truly in a class of his own. While many of his contemporaries will often tap into the same all-inclusive musical constructions as they pivot around trends, in DJ Sports’ music it appears to come from somewhere less calculated position in a more refined approach to various genres.