Skatebård – The Bells of Mist
Norwegian DJ and producer Bård Aasen Lødemel has had a long-lasting career that traces back to 2002. Deep House Amsterdam have defined his sounds as a combination of “Emotional techno, neo-italo, electro from an alternative future and a Scando-cosmic reinterpretation of pure Detroitian house“.The online community has noted that his strong facial hair draws comparison to Hip Hop artist Action Bronson. He’s also been described as being Santa Claus who brings tunes instead of presents, or Gimli on his day off. While often DJs carry a persona that feels detached of emotion while mixing, Bård’s body language emits bliss. Something that also this emanates in his production. Associated with a sound that’s ethereal yet groove-inducing, His 2016 Boiler Room set brought spaced-out electro grooves. The track that kicked-off the vibes was The Bells of Mist, his own production that epitomises his gossamer sound. Skatebård certainly brings a gift in this track
Bård’s sound transformed over the years, losing its tints of techno along the way. His first EP ‘Skateboarding Was A Crime (In 1989)’ featured zealous tracks like ‘Sgnelkab‘. However, since the late 2000s, he has pushed a sound that is an amalgamation of Norsk Disco & Italo Disco. The Bells of Mist incorporates a distinct ambience that communions with the late 1970’s producer Cerrone’s arp bassline. For a man who hails from the land of the viciously conquering Vikings, the concave pads used bring a sense of harmony. As the track title suggests, the heavy use of reverb creates an atmosphere of brume. A 111BPM contributes to the overall feelingness of haze akin to a mellow dream, in which the dancer loses themselves in. Speaking to Ransom Note the DJ claimed to ‘see a lot of the colour red, meaning I try to make music that is “warm” in a way‘. Here, the warmness comes from the echoing bells that oscillate, substituting for a topline synth. Synths are given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the presiding ambience at the breakdown of the track, before the bassline and the drums join the jamboree. The tracks unique selling point is the ability to throw a party at a leisurely pace. Continue reading
Smith N Hack – Falling Stars
Soundhack and Errorsmith’s Smith N Hack project made waves after their remix of Herbert’s ‘Moving Like A Train’. The granular detail showed and punt to bring in old school sounds of brass band stabs was well celebrated. Dixon was more than happy to use it as his Vol. 4 closer on the Get Physical Label’s revered Body Language series. After their acclaimed remix of Ricardo Villalobos’ Easy Lee project it was evident that more was to come from the duo. Even though bleepy mnml from that period appeared to grow bland, ‘Falling Stars’ proved that bleeps used in a different way found still sound fresh. How so? The 2007 release used a wide variety of arcade machine, Atari video game noises. It brought a bit of life to the dancefloor while still maintaining its futuristic outlook.
Featured on Michael Mayer’s monumental Immer 3 mix, it is a killer cut. The way the track launches with just the 8-bit sounds descending from on high helps you understand why it’s called Falling Stars. These apps used by a JX8P machine are played at different BPMs and at different octave heights to create a magical world. In rumbles the double note MIDI bass, which is not too dissimilar at all to their ‘Easy Lee’ remix. I:Cube, Todd Terje and others on the Nu-Disco strain have used similar. This feels extra resonant with soul. This soul being heightened by the love sick ‘oo’s’ from the vocoder vocal is incredible. With tints of Italo-disco it talks about ‘At the end of the world, at the point of no return / I’m thinking of you, and my heart starts to burn.’ With all the noise that’s going around, the dancefloor will be burning too. A break down takes place of some tight key work, before the bass comes back and streams of ‘stars’ fall. Unreal. Continue reading
Benedikt Frey – Out Of Here (feat. Javolenus)
Darmstadt local Benedikt Frey will not be requiring Elon Musk’s assistance for reaching Mars. His range of releases coming from such labels including Ethereal Sound, Mule Electronics and Live at Robert Johnson demonstrate one trait in common – they equally sound extragalactic. The DJs discography consists of alternative soundtracks for ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, Plutonic acid party weapons and themes accompanying launches of Space X. His bachelor thesis alone feels like an exhibit of a dystopian experiment created by the Fourth Kind. ‘Out of Here’ feels downtempo in comparison, yet retains the viscid quiddity of xenomorph.
Filtered, timid kick drums drop you a clue within the intro that the track is likely to fall under the nu-disco category. Martian frequencies approach you like a UFO-investigator at an vacated Area 51site. Vintage Italo-disco snares begin to shiver. It reminds you of calibre attested by one of the finest exports from Naples. Brass synth stamps its authority with magnitude that rivals the Behemoth creature from ‘The Mist‘. It dances with a water pot clanging hi-hats substitute in an offbeat unison. As the track draws to its conclusion, hauntingly mellow siren lingers on the fringes of the soundwaves. It serves as a reminder of the producer’s intention to create an extraterresteral atmosphere.