Outside the Funkdub box – Northern Disco Lights

0 Posted by - 10th December 2017 - Features & Reviews, Top Picks by G-Kush

Following the recent release of the documentary Northern Disco Lights, GK takes a musical journey to accompany the film.

Without doubt some of the freshest dance music to emerge in recent years has come from Norway. Though it’s not been a regular feature at Funkdub shows, that’s not to say House & Disco aren’t in the record box, they are, indeed one of our favourite ever shows was when Greg Wilson came to Chester. The documentary Northern Disco Lights charts the history and the rise of dance music culture in Norway. It turns out there are distinctive reasons why that part of the world injected fresh life into house and disco, genres that were sounding pretty tired in the mid 00s. Without giving too much away a combination of factors meant the country experienced a surge of creativity and a completely new perspective on dance music. The documentary is excellent and well worth 75 minutes of your time, it has interviews with all of the major players and some gorgeous landscapes to boot. Stream the documentary for free here and have a listen to some tracks from the various producers featured in the film below.

Bjorne Torkse – Spelunker (2007)

We’ll start out with something atypical, an 8-bit dub track. Bjorn Torkse is featured throughout the film, and is one of the enigmatic and talented pioneers who was there when the scene was first emerging. He’s collaborated with most of the influential producers and DJs over several decades, including most famously fellow Tromsø natives Röyksopp. Of course he’s  released many tracks of his own  including Disco Members, and is still collaborating with Prins Thomas in 2017, On U is well worth a listen. However since we’re Funkdub here is a very fun slice of dub infused bleeps from 2007:

Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band – A Special Morning (2003)

There was a CD called “Way Out North” that came free with a magazine in 2003 in the wake of Röyksopp breaking out in a big way. That CD was where the writer first heard Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band, with the excellent Clouds. This track is quite a thing of beauty (there is also a version from 1998, but we haven’t been able find out if they’re the same as yet), check it out, you won’t regret it:

Rune Lindbaek – Odessa (2009)

Rune Lindbaek is another producer and DJ who features throughout and has collaborated with many of the more well known producers, notably in 2003 with Lindstrøm  on the excellent “Aliens In My Pocket”. Get some fat dub disco from 2009 in your lugs:

Erot – Song For Annie (1999)

Regarded by most of the contributors as one of the most talented of all the producers emerging from Norway, it’s a desperate tragedy that Tore Andreas “Erot” Kroknes didn’t live long enough to realise his full potential. This track is dedicated to his then partner Annie, another important member of the scene, and a brilliant songwriter and producer, (check out Heartbeat, for a perfect piece of pop music). This track is clearly a blueprint for so much of what came afterwards, fabulous stuff:

Mungolian Jet Set – Smells Like Gasoline (2012)

DJ Strangefruit also features throughout the film and is another longstanding collaborator, he releases records alongside Knut Sævik as Mungolian Jetset. Perhaps their most famous release is the outstanding Todd Terje remix of Moon Jocks & Prog Rocks, however this one has a deep groove all its own and is well worth your attention:

Diskjokke – Some Signs Are Good (2007)

The record label Smalltown Supersound is one of the significant cornerstones of the whole scene, and this absolute banger from Joachim Dyrdahl, aka diskJokke is one of very many great releases on the imprint,  (including Kelly Lee Owens topping the 2017 album of the year chart at Piccadilly Records):

Blackbelt Andersen – Tyrkisk Pepper (2010)

The Full Pupp imprint is another of the significant record labels that features throughout, and this another deep and evocative dance cut from Blackbelt Andersen:

Magnus International – Metroid Boogie (2016)

A heavyweight bass workout from Oslo based based producer Magnus International, also on the Full Pupp imprint:

Dolle Jolle – Balearic Incarnation (Todd Terje’s Extra Doll Mix) (2008)

Todd Terje isn’t interviewed directly in the film, (he doesn’t seem to do many video or audio interviews) but is acknowledged as the current figurehead of the scene in many ways. There are so many tracks to choose from, but this remix from 2008 is particularly spine tingling:

Lindstrøm – Ra-Ako-St (Todd Terje Extended Edit) (2012)

Lindstrøm is probably still the writer’s favourite of all of these producers, and gives an interview for the documentary. “I Feel Space” from 2005 and “Closing Shot” from 2016 feature, but a personal favourite is this rolling rampage across the fjords:

Prins Thomas – Arabisk Matt (Dub) (2014)

Prins Thomas is a prolific and tireless producer and DJ, probably achieving most notoriety from his remix work and collaborations with Lindstrøm. Amongst many I Want It by Locussolus is a particularly huge remix. However sticking with a theme, here is another portion of dub electronica from his third solo album:

Todd Terje – Inspector Norse (2012)

Whilst the list has mostly steered away from the most well known tracks, it would be remiss not to include Todd Terje‘s space disco anthem. Check out this thoroughly joyous live version filmed in Olso with live band The Olsens:

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