Global Communication – 76:14
Back in the days there was something called Scandinavian Music Club and you could basically order 4 albums for the price of 1, and then unsubscribe and do the whole thing again a time or two until you got busted… This is how I strangely enough ended up with KLF´s The White Room, Future Sound Of London´s Lifeforms, Eat Static´s Implant and this gem from Global Communication. Not a bad selection from a Scandinavian Music Club where the rest of the catalogue was mostly weird Scandinavian 90s pop combined with Madonna, Nirvana and whatever else that was popping back in the early 90s… A review of this album describing that some of the drums sounded like drops from outer space was all the info I had before getting this album. That sentence kinda stuck with me, I listened to that album for decades and stil am from time to time. It´s by far one of the best ambient albums ever made, in my opinion only challenged by FSOL, Biosphere, KLF´s Chill Out and The Irresistible Force´s Flying High. Global Communication continued to make some great music, to this day I very very often play The Way in my more deeper house sets. And who can forget the Jedi Knights?!!!! Check asap!!!! They also got an album called Pentanerous Metamorphosis for those who want to dig deeper into these ambient sounds.
Biosphere – Patashnik
An enormous inspiration for everybody in Norway who fiddled with the idea of becoming nerdy people obsessed with synths and tape echo. That this masterpiece was made in Tromsø had such an influence on everybody who listened to this kind of music. It was surreal that one of the best albums ever in the genre was made in the small town of Tromsø. We knew about MicroGravity, his first album, but this is the one that made us all superfans of Biosphere. This was mind you before the glory days of da internets, so there was a few interviews on Norwegian Television where you could see him make music, and the mystical synths and fx combined with a very down to earth view on things made an incredibly strong impact on me.
Røyksopp – Senior
Speaking of Tromsø, the next generation of artists from Tromsø are responsible for nfluencing and showing the world that Norway was a country with a lot of genuine artists with a genuine sound. Røyksopp & legendary producer & arguably one of the best dj´s on the planet Bjørn Torske moved to my home town of Bergen. I was so lucky to watch and learn and also on so many important occasions borrowing equipment from them. The details are not important, but Røyksopp have been key to helping me several times, when they definitely didn’t were obliged to do so, point is, they are just incredibly nice guys, with a vast knowledge of production and music in general. Røyksopp & V´Bjørn Torske showed me so much about dj´ing, producing and so many wonderful 70s / 80s records that I’m forever in debt to them. My music career started a little after they moved to Bergen, and I have so many fond memories from those days. Giving up food for funk was a slogan taking a little bit too seriously at times. We would have no money, and just barely survive on a few dj gigs and a steady diet of spaghetti and ketchup. My first ever tour was with Erot (in my heart forever.), Bjørn Torske, Røyksopp, Annie & Nils Noa. I guess at most there was 50 people at the shows around Norway…except in Bergen of course! If I had to choose at gunpoint which album I like the most by Røyksopp I would have to say Senior. The melodies, the production, the chord progressions and the sound makes this one of my favorite albums ever.
Mad Professor – Dub Me Crazy
I guess its possible to put almost any MP album here, as the Professor´s output has been insane, but also insanely good. So many good albums. But this is once again the sound of 90s Bergen, Doc L Junior always played this album and I love almost all of Mad Professor´s stuff, but this album is just amazing and maybe also get some extra credit points for
the good memories attached to this.
Holy Other – Yr Love
Listening to this track immediately takes me back to good, loving times and one of my best years on planet earth. It´s an absolute stand out track discovered on the Jon Hopkins´ Back To Mine album, which btw also is very very good. A lot of stuff is going on in this track and it´s executed and portioned perfectly. A very moody, atmospheric track that will stand the test of time.
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85 – 92
Another straight up classic that had so much influence on Norway and obviously the rest of the world. But I feel Norway kinda took this album VERY seriously and that you still can hear the influences from this album on a lot of the new stuff emerging from Norway in the more spaced out disco department. He did a gig at an island here that still is a very much talked about gig, and also did a pretty far out dj set at a festival that I guess scared a lot of people that probably was looking forward to hear Window Licker haha! Several people from Bergen also knew him from school in Cornwall, so I guess that’s also made Aphex Twin a little more personal in a way to us.
Scarface – The Diary
No list of mine would be complete without some proper rap, preferably from the 90s. This album is one of the best and possibly most underrated albums of all time. The production and rapping is second to none, and some of the songs are just classics, like Hand Of The Dead Body & I Seen A Man Die. Quite different from the other stuff on this list, but equally important as an influence to me. I guess this is an album that you kind of had to “be there” to get completely, might be hard to get into now for da kids, but I highly recommend you do.
Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzic
More hip hop! I clearly remember receiving this album on vinyl in 1993. After one listen I was completely hooked. I was getting more and more interested in the mixture of samples and loops and doing real instruments on top. Not exactly rocket science now, but back then I had 1 MegaByte of memory on my sampler! And that was considered a lot! Like Dr. Dre did with Snoop´s Doggystyle, Organized Noize blended samples with instruments and came up with some fantastic songs. Using a lot less samples then Dr. Dre, this album was not only filled to the brim with catchy tracks, but obviously also amazing hooks and verses. But the SOUND of this album stayed with me, and has been some kind of a blueprint for me no matter what genre I’m working with. The warmth of the bass, Rhodes and drums is just so damn pleasant and sounds like an updated 70s record. They are also some very, very cool dudes, who really know their music history. They also have a very clear sound that they have kept throughout the years. Check their latest EP, they still got it! I might add that I’ve been so lucky to be collaborating a little with Organized Noize on my next full length album, “Kosmik Diamondz”. It´s incredible for me that I’ve been so lucky to work with some of the people I was such a fan of as a kid. For me to work with Organized Noize and Snoop Dogg and George Clinton is so surreal, and its so beyond far from where I grew up, and the opportunities I then had, and they have all been very, very cool with me, far beyond what they really needed to and have learned a lot from these legends. So never give up on dreams no matter how crazy they might be, I would love to elaborate, but for me to work with these people is just beyond crazy.
A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
This is still before da internets kids, so music was hard to get hold of. I heard Jazz (We´ve Got) on a compilation and was looking all over for this album. That track just completely blew my mind, had never heard anything like that, that loop and trumpet sample combined with those drums and those raps was a lot to take in for a 14 year old kid. When I finally got hold of a not exactly mint condition second hand copy I listened to this every day from I woke up till I went to bed for a week. I had an old amplifier my uncle gave me as well as a record player and teak speakers that was his old sound system from the early 80s, maybe 70s. Before that I actually only had a walk man and I did not get a CD player before I was 16. So all the CD´s I bought my very patient neighbor had to tape for me, or I could come by and make the tapes myself depending on how many albums I had got that month.. .forever thankful for that. And also, kids should be very happy nowadays with how easy everything technological is. Back then you had to have real patience to make music or even just to get music. I often went to dj gigs, not for girls or drinks, but cause I knew that would be the only place I could hear a certain track. But unfortunately kids nowadays have different problems to deal with. Keep your head up regardless is my advice. I guess there’s a discussion between this album and Midnight Marauders about which is the best album, and its a tough one, and I understand those who prefer MM, but for me The Low End Theory will always win. Q-Tip is by the way the most underrated producer in hip hop EVER. He did ALL of the ATCQ albums as well as Deee Lite´s Groove Is In The Heart and what about his influence and co-production on Mobb Deeps the Infamous?!!! As well as a loooong list of amazing remixes, Get Down by Craig Mack being a special favorite, and a bunch of other albums and singles that for some reason people don’t know he did. To be honest, it was PRETTY cool of him to write Produced by A Tribe Called Quest on all their albums, when he clearly did everything on there.
Minnie Riperton – Any album, any song. (Greatest Hits)
From her kind of more rock / funk influenced work with the Rotary Connection to her own solo albums, I’ve always been so in love with her voice, her songs and I got a weird hangup on some of the baselines on some of her tracks. To put it this way, my amazing Russian Blue cat is named Minnie after her… I’ve always liked catchy songs, and in my opinion some of the strongest pop work ever done is found in her catalogue. I guess you could argue that some of the best hip hop tracks ever made have sampled her with great success, looking at you Q-Tip! She has so many amazing tracks and her vocal techniques were just breathtaking, and I think her best songs were written together with her husband Richard Rudolph. She died way to early, and is one of the artists I truly would have loved to hear more music from, I just can’t get enough as they say in some house songs.
R.E.C. Recovery EP (Disco Piñata)
Disco Piñata welcomes a trio of Norwegian talents in the form of Ralph Myerz, Eddie da Bass and Carina Faye for their next impactful house EP. Bergen’s Ralph Myers is a certified platinum and award-winning producer and DJ and here works with hometown friends Eddie da Bass and Carina Faye to cook up a brilliant bunch of fully formed new cuts. Opening up the EP is ‘Directions’ (R.E.C. 5am Eternal ReWork), which is a dreamy deep house track with soft underlapping drums, warm pads and a delicate vocal that’s surrounded by beautiful keys, it’s a truly celestial tune. ‘Slippin’ meanwhile is a more driven house cut, it also has cosmic intentions thanks to the great keys and melodies, but also a supple bassline that will get people on their toes. The excellent R.E.C. x DJ Sneak – ‘Funky Rhythm’ (R.E.C. 5am Eternal ReWork) takes you on an eight-minute adventure into atmospheric, party starting house with a spoken word vocal, mellifluous chords and heart-warming feelings that all ooze class. ‘Let Me Show You’ feat. Kat Capone then gets back to zoned out, super deep moods with blissful ambient pads and floating drums all suspending you in the groove as a fresh pop vocal adds another layer of emotion. Recovery’ is the next excellent original and one that really casts a spell over the course of sixteen minutes of gentle acid lines, wallowing drums and meandering lead synths that detach you from the real world and get you lost in sound. Things close on another epic tune with ‘The Nod’ bringing fresh drums and melodies to a modern house beat. Chopped up vocal ad libs add soul and warmth and you can see this one really elevating the club with its colourful neon glow.
Photo by: Ole Martin Halvorsen