Norway is a surprising hotbed of electronic disco talent with the likes of Prins Thomas, Lindstrom and Todd Terje among the names often cited as leading lights of their home country.
Northern Disco Lights is a documentary film coming on April 29th that tells the story of how that happened starting with a group of teenagers in Tromsø who out of boredom and isolation started a music scene, set up radio stations, parties, built synths and made music that spread all over the world.
It features 67 contributing interviewees including Bryan Ferry, Bjørn Torske, Prins Thomas, DJ Strangefuit, Nemone (BBC 6 Music), Mental Overdrive, Idjut Boys, Lindstrøm, Bill Brewster and many more.
Paper Recordings (the label behind the film) will release the soundtrack of the film covering the most seminal tracks from the scene from the scene wihle Lindstrøm’s Closing Shot will feature on a 7″ for Record Store Day, backed with Erot’s ‘Song For Annie’. Erot tragically died at the age of 23 and this tune was instrumental in the Norwegian disco scene.
Northern Disco Lights – Soundtrack
Lindstrøm – Closing Shot (Original Mix)
Biosphere – Novelty Waves (Original Mix)
Doc L Junior – Sentimental Breakdown (Original Mix)
Rune Lindbaek – Ok, Kjor Romskip (Original Mix)
Bjørn Torske – Gullfjellet (Original Mix)
Erot – Song for Annie (Original Mix)
Mungolian Jetset – Moon Jocks Prog Rocks (Todd Terje’s Schlong Tong Vocal Version)
Mungolian Jetset – Quintessential Trip To Bergen (Original Mix)
The Torske / Mundal Explosion – In Disco (Original Mix)
Rune Lindbaek – Junta Jaegar (Original Mix)
Those Norwegians – Kakao (Original Mix)
Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band – Think Twice (Original Mix)
Blackbelt Andersen – Sandoz (Original Mix)
Doc L Junior – Twilight (Original Mix)
Lindstrøm – I Feel Space (Original Mix)
Prins Thomas – Fehrara (Original Mix)
Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas – Boney M Down (Original Mix)
Lindstrøm – Rà-àkõ-st (Todd Terje Extended Edit) (Original Mix)
Bjørn Torske – Møljekalas (Original Mix)
André Bratten – Be A Man You Ant (Original Mix)
Diskobeistet – Birkelunden (Original Mix)
I’ve made an Electric Picnic DJ Mix every year since 2008. It’s always been a blast to make and a highlight of the site for me personally. 2016’s mix features 22 artists on the Electric Picnic lineup over 20 songs in just under 55 minutes.
It’s for bumping for your festival prep for the next week or in the car on the way down to Stradbally. Last year’s mix.
Follow the Nialler9 New Music playlist on Spotify. This week’s additions include new songs from all the below along with Glass Animals, Skott, Chance The Rapper, Ardyn, Father John Misty and Hvmmingbyrd.
Anderson Paak appears to feature as a guest on one new song every few days. The dude is having a prolific year and also released the album of the year (Irish show please? I was sure a Picnic show was happening). On his latest feature, he sets the bumping airy tone on Mac Miller’s new track from new album The Divine Feminine (September 16). The album also features Kendrick Lamar, Cee-Lo, and Robert Glasper. A classy joint.
Todd Terje – Snooze 4 Love (Luke Abbott remix)
A strong remix on 12″ / download now.
Coming across like a lost Mariah track, Luke Abbott’s new remix of Todd Terje’s 2011 track has a summery stamp all over it.
Massive Attack feat. Ghostpoet – ‘Come Near Me’
Massive Attack released three new songs via an iOs app this week but today, they posted two of those songs on Spotify and Apple Music/iTunes. Hope Sandoval anchors the dreamy trip-hop of ‘The Spoils’ but it’s Ghostpoet’s turn on ‘Come Near Me’ that fits the band’s dystopian downbeat tune.
The songs are the followup to Ritual Spirit which was helmed by Robert Del Naja. These songs were both written by Daddy G and collaborator Stew Jackson, proving that if you are clashing in creative endeavours just take charge of every second release, it seems to be working for the Bristol band for now.
Badbadnotgood & Colin Stetson – ‘Confessions Part II’
A highlight from the Canadian jazz trio’s new album IV.
Badbadnotgood make jazz music that is made with a deeper knowledge of the modern music of hip-hop and electronica. But while those influences are felt on the album with collaborations with Mick Jenkins, Kaytranada and Samuel T. Herring, it’s the Arcade Fire-featured sax player Colin Stetson whose contribution to ‘Confessions Part II’ feels the most natural. Stetson’s reeds bring a nervous underbelly to a tune that seems to spiral out of control, in the way that Miles Davis’ experimental On The Corner feels like it’s falling off its tracks only to be nudged back into focus once more.
De La Soul – ‘Royalty Capes’
A strong track from the rap legends
Still going strong after all these years, De La Soul have never made the kind of music that made people want to forget they’re still around plugging away. There’s always usually something to recommend. For their forthcoming and the Anonymous Nobody… album which was crowdfunded and features David Byrne, Damon Albarn, Usher, Little Dragon, Estelle, Pete Rock, 2 Chainz and Jill Scott, they’ve let us listen to a new song featuring Snoop Dogg, ‘Trainwreck’ and the funky ‘Action’.
‘Royalty Capes’ is another fine track, a brass-assisted jazzy big-beat hip-hop track that doesn’t look to the past in its execution.
Doctr – ‘Tropique’
Sunshine danceable giddiness.
One of those tunes that only makes sense with loads of people around, Doctr’s ‘Tropique’ is pure sunshine giddy energy. The song is italo meets cosmic disco meets tropical house. It gets an official release on August 19th on Music For Dreams. You might hear this at Lumo’s all-day party tomorrow. Ok, you will.
The Cork-born artist drops her second single.
The London-based Cork artist Lyra debut with an impressively polished ambient pop song called ‘Rabbit In The Headlights’ last month that simultaneously recalled Kate Bush, Enya, FKA Twigs and Swedish pop.
Last week, Lyra played her debut gig at Communion Music’s night in London and she dropped ‘Emerald’, her second track. That previous song was largely about embracing her Irish accent – something she does here too. Also embraced, big drums and production, sustained chords and a grand chorus.
Production comes from Rupert Christie (Kate Bush, Coldplay, Aurora, Say Lou Lou).
The British singer takes time out from collaborating with Kanye to release his first track in 3 years.
In the five years he’s been making music in the public, first with SBTRKT and later on his own, there’s been a slow release of solo tunes from Sampha. His last solo material was ‘Too Much’/’Happens’ in 2013 but in the meantime, he’s featured on songs from Kanye West, Drake and Katy B.
New song ‘Timmy’s Prayer’ arrives three years after his last solo track and came with a message that suggested the guy has been having a hard old time (“It’s been a while. I’ve had a lot to process these past couple of years, as we all do, and it’s hard to articulate sometimes”). As ever, the honeyed tones of his voice are always emotive and welcome to these ears.
Ahead of some live dates this summer, Todd Terje and his dance troupe/band The Olsens have announced a double vinyl EP of remakes/covers of tracks by Yellow Magic Orchestra, Boney M, Vangelis and remixes of the tracks.
The Big Cover-Up is released on June 17th on Terje’s own Olsen records. The tracklist is velow and this is the remix of the Boney M cover:
Todd Terje & The Olsens – ‘Baby Do You Wanna Bump (Daniel Maloso Remix)’
THE BIG COVER-UP’ TRACKLISTING
A1. Firecracker (by Yellow Magic Orchestra / Martin Denny)
A2. Disco Circus (by Martin Circus)
B1. Baby Do You Wanna Bump (by Boney M)
B2. La Fete Sauvage (by Vangelis)
C1. Baby Do You Wanna Bump (Daniel Maloso remix)
C2. Firecracker (Dan Tyler remix)
D1. La Fete Sauvage (Prins Thomas remix)
D2. Disco Circus (Øyvind Morken remix)
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Todd Terje has released a fine set of remixes of his album tune ‘Alfonso Muskedunder’ from It’s Album Time! which takes the track’s hammy orchestral prog throwback vibes into something less esoteric.
There are four remixes in total from Deetron (who takes it percussive and deep while retaining the melody), a Bullion remix (more dance/funk), Mungolian Jetset (more steel drum style piano house) and my personal favourite Mungolian vs Terje himself (a brass soulful house take on things with a drum breakdown)
‘Simple Life’, is as bare as they come, a piano-lead striking ballad with Niia’s jazz vocals yearning for something else as she “makes her lovers used the back door when they leave.” It’s an effective showcase of a new talent years in the making.
2. Todd Terje – ‘Oh Joy’
Probably the only banger we hadn’t heard from his debut and album of the week, It’s Album Time.
You could argue that we don’t even need a Todd Terje album. The Norwegian cosmic disco don has proved his worth over the last ten years with a series of killer dance singles. ‘Eurodans’, ‘Inspector Norse’, ‘Strandbar’, ‘Spiral’, ‘Lanzarote’ and ‘Ragysh’ are some of the tracks he’s released that are almost guaranteed to help fill a dancefloor. He’s also a prolific edit maker and remixer – there exists a torrent of 96 different edits of tracks of Paul Simon, Thin Lizzy, Chic, Belle Epoque and Alicia Keys amongst others. Terje’s well-crafted output lives in front of spotlights, speakers and sozzled feet.
If you take a combination of those edits, those singles and the eclectic Essential mix from last year, you’ll arrive at the sound of It’s Album Time, Terje’s debut long player.
The Essential Mix featured some deeply uncool, or at least, culturally out-of-step music and there’s plenty of that here. The album begins with a trio of lounge disco instrumentals which feature bright as a button synthesizers, bouncy prog rhythms, dramatic ’70s strings, harpsichord and jazz melodies.
Where Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories deliberately recreated a prog disco lounge, Terje’s version is less self-conscious in its appearance, that he throws his music headlong into some some calypso rhythms on track four ‘Svensk Sas’ should be really quite laughable but his decision to use those kitsch Latin tropes for some weird treated scat vocals and as a segway into a truncated ‘Strandbar’ works because of its sheer sonic enthusiasm. Terje has studied the past but is also recreating its giddy adventure as well as its sounds.
The actual prog orchestral track, which appears later in the form of ‘Alfonso Muskedunder’, is less warranted – a valid exercise in recreation it no doubt was, but less fun to listen back to, it is. There are plenty of first-hand examples of that style if you want to dig it out and Terje’s version doesn’t reignite to the conversation or update it. Still, those wayward sounds show us what Terje is capable of – he’s very much a musician as well as a fine producer.
If we’re looking for something new to show is what Terje is capable of, then ‘Johnny And Mary’ , his collaboration with Bryan Ferry is it. Robert Palmer’s 1980 original was a synth-rock single. Terje and Ferry’s ballad is more languid, and more devastating in emotion. Ferry does his dishevelled craggy man thing and Terje matches him with some sweeping Twin Peaks/Angelo Badalamenti orchestration. ‘Take My Breathe Away’ style.
Along with the glorious ‘Delorean Dynamite’, ‘Johnny And Mary’ forms the centre of an album which features previously-released songs on the tracklist, ‘Strandbar’ and the mighty ‘Inspector Norse’ despite its prescience, still sounds as glorious as ever. ‘Swing Star (Parts 1 and 2)’ from the Arps EP could have been jettisoned in favour of newer tracks as everything else isn’t dulled by its familiarity.
‘Delorean Dynamite’ is a rush. A bombastic hurtling journey than a synth highway in retro-futuristic vehicle. The giddiness inherent in its arpeggiated synth line is not to be underestimated. It’s ably matched by ‘Oh Joy’, a seven-minute gallop towards the victory lap of ‘Inspector Norse. ‘Oh Joy’ features a three minute intro build before the beat drops into euphoric Moroder swing.
Terje’s willingness to not just put out an album of bangers is admirable. In general, the mesh of synth-disco, prog, jazz and lounge works because he ties it all together with an infectious and skilled sonic enthusiasm that papers over any cracks.
Well this will be something. Todd Terje is no stranger to these shores as a DJ but the Norwegian man himself obviously makes some pretty stellar music himself with his wide array of synthesizers he owns. You might have heard a few of them.
Terje has a debut album coming in the first week of April called It’s Album Time and the exciting news today is that he’ll be playing a live set at Hidden Agenda on May 23rd in Button Factory (hopefully it’s more than a laptop / DJ setup). Tickets are €20 and go on sale today at 4pm. That date is the Friday of Life Festival.
1. Intro (It’s Album time)
2. Leisure Suit Preben
3. Preben Goes To Acapulco
4. Svensk Sås
6. Delorean Dynamite
7. Johnny and Mary (feat. Bryan Ferry)
8. Alfonso Muskedunder
9. Swing Star part I
10. Swing Star part II
11. Oh Joy
12. Inspector Norse