Festivals, music luminaries emboldened on ten-foot marquises, club nights, after parties, cameras broadcasting intimate dance floors across the entire globe on an internet connection, and quiet streets throbbing with the throng of twenty-somethings on a night out; sometimes it feels like the world descends on our little city. A flurry of intense activity, punctuated by a steady pulse beating out from the center of the metropolis, whips the city into a Frenzy in a matter of a week. Over the course of the last two weeks in Oslo, Øya, Findings, Sommerøya, Rammstein and Boiler Room landed in Oslo with an almighty bang, that absorbed the whole city and will resonate into the start of winter.
It was a two week party to officially call the end of summer, our last hurrah before we retreat into our warm hovel before the cold sets in, but when all the dust has settled, the tents have been broken down, and the international guests sent on their way back to their respective homes, we remain and an echo continues to reverberate through the city, and refuses to dissipate.
This brief and intense rendezvous with an international audience might be some kind of affirmation of our dedication to music, but it’s a little more than one weekend in a year of 52 weeks with 5 other days, that we commit and dedicate our every waking hour to music and especially electronic music. When the fleeting encounters with Boiler Room, Ben Klock and Rammstein have passed and a sense of norm returns to the city, we don’t simply stop listening to music or stop dancing. The passion is terminable and its constant and once the flurry of intense activity subsides, there are a few places around Oslo that can quench and facilitate our all-consuming musical desires.
Filter Musikk is such a place. An everlasting bastion of good taste for the music- and record enthusiast whose encounters with music is an incessant state of exploration. Whether we are digging through the dusty archives, or unpackaging a fresh batch of hermetically sealed records from a box of new arrivals, Filter Musikk is an unwavering presence for music and record culture in the city. It’s a fixture and our weekly fix, and it was our first stop on Monday when the noise of two weekends of unbridled partying subsided. As luck would have it, we walked in just as a new box of records arrived. Hunched over a pile of records on the floor we started picking record after record with a sense of calm and order restored.
After the intense, fleeting musical encounters of the last two weeks, this is where the music is at its most concrete; it’s the music that makes a permanent impression, finding a dedicated space in our record collections, that live way beyond a moment or a weekend. It’s the cut with Filter Musikk.
DJ Dog & Double Dancer – Rebound Lounge 3 (Rebound Lounge) 12″
Norway’s first and only basketball House label is back with Rebound Lounge 3. Come to think of it… they might the world’s first and last label dedicated to the fatuous music genre. DJ Dog (Fettburger) and Double Dancer (Eirik Fagertun / Untz Untz) have been refining the sound of basketball House through series of releases since 2016, with bouncing beats and airy melodies defining their work together.
DJ Dog and Double Dancer maintain the Rebound theme on the third release, making their way through five cuts with dribbling beats and breathy textures underpinning each track. Although there’s that insistent basketball theme behind this third release, the appeal to Rebound 3 lies in the frosty melodies and the cool unperturbed rhythms that they pursue.
There’s an improvised, progresisve touch to their tracks, where they let thematic phrases languish in their own reflection, expounding little beyond subtle modulation in the synthesis. From the pounding acidity of “Running the point” to the heady ethereality of “Naismith,” Rebound 3, like its ancestors, is a versatile record with loads of cues to distant musical cues coming together under the auspices of basketball House.
Neil Landstrumm – Shitting Diamonds On Jupiter (Running Back) 12″
Neil Landstrumm is nothing if not diiverse. From the trashing Electro of Missing You on Mord, the schizophrenic IDM of “A Death, A Mexican And A Mormon” on CPU. to his unadulterated Techno workouts from the nineties, recently reissued on Peacefrog, Neil Landstrumm bounces between styles and genres like a chameleon with attention deficit disorder, adopting transient influences in his all-consuming pursuits as an artist. He’s hardly a conformist however as he molds this to his unique sonic identity while testing the limits of his audience’s patience through bold sonic textures and wayward rhythms.
So although it’s a bit odd to find Landstrumm on Running Back with an eighties-sounding synthwave record, it’s also completely expected. “Shitting Diamonds On Jupiter” doesn’t quite sound like anything Neil Landstrumm has ever released before, but it retains that distinctive flair for the dramatic. With a sonic palette almost completely derived from classic synth arpeggios, Landstrumm soundtracks some imagined eighties horror and scifi plot through the vintage sounds of electronic music. Between 8bit video games, synth pop and Landstrumm’s Techno and Electro pursuits this record exists as a complete anomaly on his extended discography, but plays well against the backdrop of the Running Back catalogue, albeit in what can only be described as a Neil Landstrumm execution.
Over five tracks the Scottish producer creates bold sonic creations that is not confined to the drum machine as densely orchestrated synthesiser movements whir through progressions in distinctive phases like a pop song. With an arsenal of synths at hand that favour big, brash sounds, Lanstrumm juxtaposes upbeat melodies with provocative harmonies, that cloud the entire release in something of a sinister air. Even “Night Walker Zwei” with its clear attempts at minimising the sounds to the beat, finds it hard to control the intensity of the synthesiser sounds forcing their way through the reverb of the percussion.
M.S.L – Periphery (Les Yeux Orange) 12″
It’s said: if you’re going to have an Electro night, you should only play Electro. Mixing an Electro track in what is essentially a House or Techno set, just sounds like a very bland attempt at trying to sound interesting and everybody can see through it. With Electro you’re either all in or you shouldn’t bother. The same goes for an Electro record.
M.S.L hits the nail on the head with “Periphery” on this occasion. It’s an Electro record from start to finish, entirely dedicated to the skipping beat arrangements and intergalactic sounds of the genre. And while many think Electro is one specific thing, like House and Techno it has various different hues that cater to different portions of the night, as M.S.L so expertly demonstrates on this record.
From the light key work of “Triennale,” the downtempo rhythm of “Careful, Thinking Could Become A Habit,“ to the brooding sonics of “Enterprise” this record has an all-encompassing view of the rich variation that defines Electro in 2019. “Periphery” is M.S.L’s third release and in the mere two years he’s been actively releasing records, he’s displayed a real talent for his chosen genre.
Various – Eros 02X (Eros) 12″
This white label, label has been single-handedly bringing Disco back to life with edits and remixes from Disco, and the early days of House focussing on some of the more obscure and as a result more refreshing kodak moments from the genres. Eros is proving once and for all that Disco does in fact NOT suck.
Featuring edits of Brainstorm, Master Plan and Venus Dodson, according to discogs, the original Disco tracks might not be all that familiar, but each contain an earworm, riff or beat, that tends to linger with the listener. Eros 2X is a percussive-focussed release with syncopated hand percussion at the centre of each edit and a funky bass guitar or an arpeggio bass synth playing on those primal evocations.
A2 and B2 are specifically effective and although confined to Disco and House parameters could easily flit between an Electro or Techno set as a tool or a funky interlude to that next phase of a DJ set. Training their sights on a contemporary audience and a modern dance floor, Eros is repurposing the infectious nature of Disco, relieving it of its tawdry associations and updating it for new audiences. Disco is alive and kicking.
Peder Mannerfelt – Life Without Friction (Seilscheibenpfeiler) 12″
Ever since dropping the Subliminal kid alias, and stepping into his eponymous moniker, Peder Mannerfelt has completely shrugged off the adolescent personality with music that provokes and engages on the outer fringes of electronic club music. Releases for the likes of Hinge Finger and LPs ike the Swedish Congo record have taken his musical pursuits to the extreme of an extensive musical purview that extends from UK Garage to the abstract sound art.
The nonconformist Swedish artist and DJ has pursued a divergent path through electronic music over the last seven years, interpreting classic tropes through the skewed vision of a vangardist. His latest record, “Life without Friction” finds him trapezing a fine line between Techno and the completely abstract. Peder Mannerfelt plays between experimental electronica and familiar sonic cliches in an emboldened manner that could avert or lure the listener at the same time, depending on your personal musical preferences.
“Life Without Friction” finds Mannerfelt engrossed in a raw, almost malign sonic treatment. The grimy strings of the title track, the glitching beat of “Un-Air” and the atonal noise that accompanies the otherwise serene, “Lucid in the Sky” add a very tense atmosphere to this release. Although he’s no stranger to the experimental, it’s almost as if Peder Mannerfelt is purposefully begriming his creations, and that’s a testament to his work. Sans the overt noise, dissonance or abstract glitches these tracks would be fairly unassuming, but it’s exactly because of Mannerfelt’s uglifying technique that “Life Without Friction” stands out amongst the other new Techno arrivals.