We’re back in the cut, the Filter Musikk cut. After a long time of only being able to afford a dive in the dustiest of cheap bins, we’re excited that the cut with Filter Musikk returns to our page, with only the very freshest of cuts from our favourite record store in Oslo. From Acid to Techno, Filter Musikk supplies the capital with all things electronic music and it’s still the strongest proliferator of vinyl music in Norway. Even a pandemic couldn’t stifle its singular pursuits as proprietor and Norwegian Techno stalwart, Roland Lifjell continues to peddle the unwavering format against all odds.
We’ve all read the headlines: even the major’s are struggling to get new records out, with re-issues of Rolling Stones records from their own headquarters congesting pressing plants the world over. It’s made it incredibly difficult to get a record out these days, and while more are opting for the digital realm, it takes a truly great record today to make the cut, the lacquer cut to be precise, and the Filter Musikk cut, to put too fine a point on it.
There’s a certain dedication that’s always gone into releasing dance music on vinyl, and it’s a dedication that’s turned obsession in the wake of the digital revolution. Yes, there might be some type of credential associated with the old format in dance music today, but even money can’t buy your way into getting your record printed today. It takes a whole lot of patience and faith in a record to get it out today on vinyl, and we salute those who persevere.
Not all of these can appeal to everybody, but some manage to capture something unique and something that can last beyond its time. For the person buying the record and the excessive cost involved in building a collection, we can’t simply buy a record for the sake of having the latest either. Each purchase needs to be able to stand the test of time, and speak to something individual. That is the essence of a collection and not just a library of music, and for that… we have spotify. With every new record, or new old record there needs to be a considered conscious effort, taking into account taste, space and economy (the last of these can often be argued for the right record).
Luckily there are places like Filter Musikk that exist, aiding us in our decision by separating the wheat from the chaff, making our choices so much easier and more significant. This is the cut with Filter Musikk… it’s good to be back.
Jesse – Music For Emotions (Haista) 12″
Wait a minute… this record is from 2014… and it’s not even a re-issue. It’s not even a repress as far as we can tell. Somebody in the fett distro camp apparently has found a box in the basement labelled “fett” and even 4 years on this record is still pretty ”fett”. (Very good for the non-Norwegian speaker).
We’re big fans of Jesse, as these pages will attest, and we might have been late coming to their party, but now we can’t get enough. The music of Ilari Larjosto (Stiletti-Ana) and Niko Liinamaa (Kalifornia-Keke) has endeared us not only to their individual work, but the work of fellow Finish associates like DJ Candle in the wind. Jesse, and their home label, Haista has been at the forefront of a new kind of Scando-Balearic sound for some time. Infusing guitars with synthesisers in long progressive pieces that unfurl like kosmische explorations, they make their stand on the dance floor.
Whereas their LP III was more focussed on the dance floor, Music for Emotions, takes a more expressive turn, with elements unfolding in a psychedelic tapestry of sound. The visceral intention in the album title is there as they journey through constant modulations of a theme. At the heart of it lies a motorik-beat-like intention to propel every song through its progression. It calls to mind the endless expanse of something like Kraftwerk’s autobahn.
Playful and charming, tracks like Emotion #1 is a fitting tribute to a wide range of influences that travel from Germany to Africa. The musicians behind the track, showing an incredible and wide arching depth to their skills between he live instrumentation and the sequenced parts. Flickers of brilliance trickling down from the likes of Talking Heads can be heard throughout with Jesse applying that curiosity for exotic sounds to their largely electronic sound palette.
Music for Emotions is one of those records that some 8 years down the line, DJs will finally uncover as some forgotten gem. They’ll claim their discovery, coveting its secret as uniquely theirs, perhaps even re-issuing it for the next generation. Remember where you heard it first.
Andrés – Back In The Open (Moods & Grooves) 12″
There are few who still honour the traditions of House music quite like Andrés. The soul and depth that is often negated for immediacy in our current epoch, is still ever-present in Andrés music, while it maintains an unbreakable connection to contemporary techniques and sounds. It must be a Detroit thing.
Back in the Open finds bass guitars creating a deep undertow, dragging down rhodes keys through undulating rhythms. Melodies bounce over jubilant keys while vocal samples offer some connection to the visceral plain. Andrés weaves elements of Jazz through his expressive arrangements, playing against the busy polyrhythms of drum machines and percussive samples.
The record feels alive, moving through the arrangements, like it’s skipping across the dance floor. There’s a sense of joy as Andrés combines brass tones and gospel-like passages, reaching out towards happy heights.
Andrés’ experience as a producer and his legacy as one of House music’s greats, shines through in his production touches, the tracks coming together more like songs than tracks. The upper frequencies shimmer while the bass gravitates towards the subwoofer’s sweet spot. Back in the Open is equally as impressive on a big sound rig as it is on a set of earphones, and it retains it’s upbeat mood, regardless of in which context it might find itself.
Efdemin, Vril – Endless / Purge (Sun Sad) 12″
It’s a double feature from a couple of Techno’s pioneers as Sun Sad records make their debut. Two artists with a unique take on electronic music, and especially Techno, find common ground as Efdemin and Vril find themselves on the debut for Sun Sad records.
Efdemin’s music which can often travel into high-art regions of his eponymous moniker, Phillip Sollmann is not a far shout from the type of music that Vril’s been cultivating since making a debut on Giegling. They both offer distinctive voices in the world of electronic music, and there’s a clear overlap in their sounds as this VA accounts.
Efdemin and Vril find some similarities here between Endless and Purge as they create immersive soundscapes that drift along stoic 4/4 rhythms. Where there’s invitation on Efdemin’s Endles however, there’s something more foreboding happening in lower registers of Vril’s Purge.
At the confluence of the two artists, Efdemin’s remix of Purge softens that edge as the German Techno artist subdues Vril’s darker tendencies to find a unique balance between their distinctive voices. It’s still very much about the atmosphere on this release, and even during the remix that remains the appeal of this Sun Sad debut. While everybody in Techno today is looking for that brutal edge, Efdemin and Vril counterpoint with a couple of tracks that search for serenity instead.
Baraka – Nutty Bass / I’ll Be There (Kniteforce) 12″
Sometimes re-issues are necessary. Some of us weren’t wise or prescient enough to recognise a classic when it appears. In 1995 most of us were still adolescent naıive with embarrassing tastes, while some were even unborn.
Fortunately re-issues like this exist, to rectify wrong turns and missed opportunities, and to undercut the hyper-inflation of discogs. Thanks to Kniteforce, we too now can add a classic Drum n Bass track to our record collection as Baraka’s Nutty Bass gets a proper re-issue after 16 years.
What is there to say about this gem that hasn’t been said before… nothing. Revel in the glorious full bodied 90’s synthesisers and the reckless approach to percussion. As is often the case with these records, it’s the title track that lures the listener to the release but the B-side (or double A in this case) that holds the attention. I’ll be there is a liquid masterpiece, emphasising those raw origins of Drum n Bass as synthesisers and beat samples sizzle and pop in their warm analogue domain.
It’s a classic that warrants re-issuing and from a lesser known alias from the well-established Jonny L, whose records like Sawtooth via XL recordings had firmly planted Drum n Bass in the mainstream. In 2021 he’s still releasing music as Jonny L and he continues to fly the banner for Drum n Bass and Jungle, continuing a very prolific career that initially laid the groundwork for the genre’s induction as one of the four electronic music archetypes.