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.
Skatebård’s enthusiasm for Italo Disco can be traced throughout his discography. Releases like ‘Data Italia‘ note Lødemel’s fascination with the genre in its title. In a way, The Bells of Mist does feel like slower space-disco, a more esoteric sub-genre of Italo which branched out in the 1980s. It was released on Lødemel’s fittingly named label Digitalo Enterprises in 2015 as part of his CDIII album. Bells have previously been adapted to electronic music of various strains. Jeff Mills’ celebrated ‘The Bells‘ incorporated the ringing sounds to a Detroit Techno context. There’s also Slo Moshun’s indefatigable 1994 track ‘Bells of New York‘, which showed the potency of using bell samples for a House record. Skatebård’s interpretation of the instrument is a little more diffident. However, as his DJing has shown, this can become a great asset. The analogue synth combination with traditional disco elements used in such genres reflect in The Bells of Mist. In such he shares his influences with fellow countrymen LINDSTRØM, Bjørn Torske & Todd Terje. In an interview with Stamp The Wax, Bård’ picked out Telephones as the Norwegian producer to look out for.