Video killed the radio star when Sting told to the Dire Straits I want my MTV, but as music television turned scripted reality and the radio fled to the internet, there was a singular constant that remained steadfast in its resolution… the record store.
It survives the hype and the format and even when it might not be at its most popular it quietly waits, biding its name for the next revolution. The record store, is a relic from the past, but also the last remaining outpost for discernible musical tastes. It’s the only stop for DJs and enthusiasts alike, and whether you buy your records online or at some physical address, it’s the closest you get to the music through the recorded format.
In Oslo, Filter Musikk ticks those boxes. In our small town with big city aspirations we value and embrace that human connection that Filter Musikk offers. It makes music the tangible artistic expression, our last remaining link to the artists and their music in a digital world occupied by holograms and insta celebrities; where alien signals from exotic locations sell consumables to an unconscious audience.
Filter Musikk is a retreat and an escape from the brutal noise of this digital signal, and our last and only port of call to the music that matters. Here a record exists for the sake of the record, because the artist and the record company thought it was good enough to cement it in time in the physical format, for generations to come.
It’s the music that exists long after you’re hard drive is full and the cloud has evaporated. It’s the music that will outlast us all. These are the last physical records of human ingenuity and artistry and in this feature with Filter Musikk we celebrate the latest editions to this ever growing library.
This is the cut with Filter Musikk.
Various – Börft Dance Classics Vol. 2 (Börft) 12″
Börft records are constantly jumping the border with Sweden with an armload of records for Roland and Filter Musikk. Earlier this year they delivered a few boxes from their back catalogue and now their back with a few compilations from their classics archive and a bunch of a stickers.
Börft dance classic Vol 1 and 2 arrived in the same box and this second one particularly caught our attention, because it features FRAK, the artist that started it all for Börft over thirty years ago with the label’s first cassette, “Raggarslakt”. None of those tracks are on this compilation however which comes from a more mature era in the label’s lifetime.
Tracks recorded for the label between 1997-1999 constitutes this release with a particular focus on the dance floor behind the selection. Tracks from the aforementioned Frak, Crinan, Kord and Pean Romel appear together and have aged gracefully from a time when House music was still very DIY, but had started figuring out what this button does in the studio.
There’s a fervent and impatient energy to the tracks that at the point it reaches Crinan’s Jeti sounds like Tom Cruise after he got into Xenu’s cookie jar. Simple, repetitive refrains stay the course through extensive dance floor workouts that make absolutely no concessions for anything outside of a DJ set or club.
House music has hardly strayed far from these ideals documented on this compilation today, but over the years it might have lost a little of this urgency and reflecting on this day is both nostalgic and inspiring.
RXmode – Degraded (The Transhumanism Remixes) (Bass Agenda) 12″
A boy’s sullen visage greets us on the cover of this record in a mood that pulses through the entire record. RXMode returns to the UK label Bass Agenda for a malicious Electro romp on Degraded and ropes in TFHats, w1b0 and Slaves of Sinus for a bunch of transhuman remixes.
The original offers a bouncing beat with a snare whipping at the surface texture of the track. A 303 bass-line burbling up somewhere from hell itself, sticks to the subterranean frequencies with a sense of malign intent mirrored in the atmospheric soundscape of the rest of the track.
TFHats or Tin Foil Hats, offer the most interesting rendition of Degraded wadding a vocal lead line in the mix and completely making it their own. It harks back to a time of Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 and we approve this message.
Luke Eargoggle – Computer Nights (Börft) 12″
In amongst the re-issues and greatest hits records in the Börft box also came a few new records, maintaining the label’s relevancy on the electronic music landscape. It’s odd that Luke Eargoggle has only been on Björft once before – on the 2015 train to illusion record which has been repressed recently – seeing as the two musical entities are practically from the same region and that they both dwell in the obscure corners of electronic music. Or maybe he has?
For those of you who don’t know, Luke Eargoggle is to Electro what Kurt Loder was to MTV. (Yes, there’s a theme emerging here just bare with me.) Luke Eargoggle has been making funky Techno and Electro for the best part of a lifetime, and he’s been proliferating it for just as long through his label Stilleben records. Computer Nights is the recent, or quite recent, addition to an immense discography that has seen him waver little from the original sound of Detroit and Chicago.
Computer nights could easily have been sleepless nights as Mr. Eargoggle appears restless and solemn, piecing together effervescent textures with jack hammer beats. The title track contains some curiosities as it jumps through some slight tempo changes, something that gets incredibly accentuated when you drop the speed to 33 too. We should have more electro at 90 BPM in my opinion.
The whole EP is a fast-paced pursuit to arrive at Grava 4 in a spaceship guided by a broken computer. Melodic lines like the de-tuning synth on “I heart you” and the discontented synthesised choir from “Vampire Kollaps” give Computer Nights a very peculiar edge. There’s some disturbing nightmare laying beyond the funky rhythms and the major key melodies, but it’s all going to be ok, we’ll get there soon.
O/H – Market Values (L.I.E.S. (Long Island Electrical Systems)) 12″
Rhythmic noise is used to describe this latest offering from Ron Morelli’s label L.I.E.S on Discogs. Isn’t all music just rhythmic noise? O/H or Ontario Hospital follow up 2015’s Future Ready on Opal Tapes with Market Values… and just in time for Halloween.
Fragments of distortion and the disenfranchised samples of some audio scion, scratch like nine inch nails on a chalkboard under the draconian control of Techno formations. Four-four kicks and sequenced bass-lines are unable to contour under the pressure of Techno’s strict parameters as pieces splinter off into the ether in a magnificent spray of noise.
A disgruntled vocal at the centre of all the tracks spewing angry phrases on the record, bemoaning the age of hyper capitalism. O/H actually have something to say here and they’ve found the prefect sonic expression on Market Values for their anti-capitalist vitriol. It’s still a Techno record, a Techno record with a functional design, but it’s also a record that’s angry and tries at least to make an impression beyond its initial purpose.
A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd – Total Confusion 2018 Remixes (Rising High) 12“
“From when MTV played good stuff” says Roland Lifjell and sends me this video. We didn’t get MTV in South Africa until 1997 and before then we were still listening to the radio and looking up at the moon, but the hyper-colourful video does well to emphasise the sound of this record. It’s an early 90’s rave classic, music from when MTV was still young and idealistic.
And that’s it, we got back to MTV! Woo Hoo! It’s been one hell of journey, but we made it. It’s the end of the article and we accomplished a narrative arc… I’d like thank you all for sticking with us and see you all next week.