Frozen pizzas, Waffles, French bistros, Friday Tacos, Latin dance halls and Hamburger joints; you don’t get much more Norwegian than that. This week on the cut, it’s a Norwegian invasion… well nearly. Coming in fresh off the press to Filter Musikk this week were a lot of represses and dominating the new releases was a very Norwegian contingent. “Why don’t we only pick out the Norwegian records this week,” said Roland and who are we to argue with the proprietor of Filter Musikk.
Roland Lifjell is an ardent supporter of the local scene. In amongst the records that make it onto shelves in his store and into record collections of local DJs, is a substantial Norwegian selection. Records from the local labels and artists make exclusive premieres at Filter Musikk on a weekly basis, often getting a headstart on the big distributors and stores further afield in Europe.
We’re not nationalists, but Norwegian music and DJ culture is some of the highest standard you’ll get in the world. People covet the vinyl format here, only perhaps equal to the way they do in Japan, and nowhere else in the world are you able to find so many good DJs per capita with a serious investment in music. Yes, even Berlin pales in comparison. In Norway, music, digging and DJing is very much a way of life thanks to high salaries and a lot of free-time (fr everybody except Roland though) and it’s made a fundamental imprint on the musical landscape through the artists and records they’ve released. Todd Terje, Full Pupp, Sex Tags, Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas are just a few of the exports, but there is so much more to be discovered, if you dig just a little deeper.
That’s where Roland Lifjell comes in. He prioritises these records, placing them up on the display rack, and always holding one or two back for some of the dedicated followers and, of course his own record bag. At Filter Musikk it passes directly from the label owner (and often the artist) to record store and eventually to consumer. It’s a very personal exchange that Filter Musikk facilitates in Oslo and that’s why it stands as bastion of music and Dk culture in the city today.
So let’s get into it, the Cut with Filter musikk, a nearly Norwegian special.
Kahuun, DJ Fett Burger, DJ Grillo Wiener – Batteri – Strøm (Sex Tags UFO) 12″ repress
“Last time i heard this was 2000 omg .classic dd”, says one discogs user. Sometimes the classics never die and that’s why the repress exists. Fett Burger and Sex Tags is not the type of label to just do a simple repress anr this repress of “Batteri” is not just another copy of the original UFO03. To change things up, Fett Burger delivers the new original track “Strøm”, featuring DJ Grillo Wiener on the b-side of “Batteri.
It’s a Norwegian invasion on this release, as Telephones join Fett Burger and Grillo Wiener for a feisty House workout on Strøm. Raucous percussion, played by Telephones apparently, and gnawing bass-lines counterpoint the energy of Kahuun’s track on the A-side. It’s bit more DIY and less polished than the A-side, but it definitely worth it if you don’t have a copy of the original pressing.
“Batteri “still steals the show. It’s lasted the test of time and some 18 years on from when it was originally made it still sounds great. Shakers and hand percussion interject with rapturous delight as warm rhodes chords form a languid bed of harmony for a very dense arrangement.
Velferd – Visions Of The Unknown (Maksimal) LP
Bergen calling… Velferd ponders the universe, space and the unknown in this six track LP for Maksimal. “Visions of the Unknown“exists somewhere between the Blade Runner soundtrack and the restless sequential melodies of Giorgio Moroder. A retro Sci Fi theme pulses through the record with both visual and sonic cues from a simpler time when spacemen wore fish bowls on their heads and robots were the evil spawn of mad scientists.
An arsenal of eighties synths, exchange beatific melodic lines between unwavering drum computers pounding out rhythms like an unionised android. Although only six tracks long and could as well be an extended EP or a mini album, there’s a theme running through the tracks that tie the dots in an album-like narrative.
It’s a archetypal Norwegian sounding record with upbeat melodies, airy textures and crisp hi-hats transposed from Disco into the modern, digital age. “Visions of the Unknown” is Velferd’s third only release and it was released with an assemblage of quirky sci-fi-themed videos for each track. “Ventures” is the pièce de résistance on this release, but it’s worth the wait as you play through to rest of the record.
Luca Lozano, Telephones – Double Vision EP (Klasse Wrecks) 12″
Luca Lozano’s Klasse Wrecks has spawned a new concept: Pairing two producers on the same release with an original track and a remix from the counterpart. The first in the series features Lozano himself and Norwegian producer DJ Telephones.
Lozano does a trancy break-beat rendition of the Balearic sound on “Ibiza Bullshit Necklace”. A jittery harmonic refrain follows the apprehensive break-beat as stabs of synthesised horns interject the progression. Like a view of the beach from Café Del Mar through a glitching television screen, Lozano plays on the quitessential “Ibiza” sound here focussing on the artificial in a distinctly Luca Lozano way.
Telephones forces Lozano’s efforts into a more restrictive mould with a 4/4 House beat and the Norwegian softens the edges of Lozano’s original through some temperate pads, in a more rose tinted interpretation of the “Ibiza Bullshit Necklace”. He maintains that mood on his original, “Tonya vs. Nancy” with that unique DJ Telephones penchant for atmosphere very much at the heart of this release. It does however get a little repetitive, and Luca Lozano corrects that on the remix with what has become his trademark break-beat arrangements.
“Funnily the remixes on each side are the best tracks imo” says Tim Reade of Discogs, “Particular mention has to go to B2, Luca Lozano’s remix of Tonya vs Nancy. Total killer!” We agree with Mr. Reade here, although that’s not saying the originals are anything but good either.
DJ Fett Burger, Dj Candle In The Wind, Macho Macho Burito Band – “Feed Me” Take Out Vol.1 (B.L.A.D.) 12″
We’ve talked at length about this release a couple of weeks back, but now it’s available in the more affordable 12” format too. If you couldn’t see yourself forking out the whopping 400kr for the special limited edition of this Pizza Box record, you can now own it in a very demure and modest simple white cardboard sleeve.
Restive Plaggona – Unready To Exist (Sacred Court)12″
Well, we did say nearly Norwegian. Roland Lifjell sneaked this into the pile when we weren’t looking. Restive Plaggona is Dimitris Doukas, a producer most likely residing in Berlin, who has been making cinematic electronic music for imagined horror movie soundtracks over the last two years.
“Unready to Exist” is his first 12” after an incredible (almost impossible) run of tapes and LPs over the last two years as Restive Plaggona. The music draws some correlation to acts like Lumisokea, FIS and Vatican Shadow with a severe focus on sound design and approach music with the ear of an auteur. The introduction, ironically called “Bad Endings” makes a very potent, unsettling introduction that immediately establishes an air of tension that sticks to this record like a symbiotic host to its parasite.
It’s a record that comes just in time for Halloween, a record that will haunt your dreams with malevolent arpeggios and terrifying percussive motifs that strike at some primal fear in us all. Blood curdling tones cloud the record like a ghostly miasma, invoking the spirit of John Carpenter and Stephen King with a very 1980’s kind of sonic template suspended over a modern industrial foundation. It’s a record for dark nights and ominous moods.