Aug 112009


Minimal techno, click house, IDM – pretty much absent this year. The much anticipated skweee battle sort of ran out in the sand, with the majority of the audience leaving before their set was done. An anti-climax if anything. I guess they are better not live. Teatermaskinen represented quite nicely though with cheap food and drinks, tall tales of their new bauhaus, Johan Jönson reading from his latest book, and some industrial acts that I missed. I also missed Danish favorites Rumpistol and Kid Kishore / DJ Hvad, a damn shame. But what was really 2009?

8-bit beats. Role Model and especially Goto80, backed up by the intriguing VJ-wizardry of Raquel Meyers, knocked down all doors and the competition flat to the ground. They’re just getting better, and better. And more than a few happy amateurs could be seen on the camping area performing rituals of black magic with their gameboys.

Breakcore. Broken Note have learned his lessons from Kid Spatula’s epic track Hard Love, stretching them out and employing them for a set of maximum dancefloor action. The Teknoist was a nice surprise, too, and even had the good taste of dropping Bjork’s Joga over some modern electronic brutalism. DJ Producer convinced us that hardcore will never die, dropping riot techno beats while doing old school scratch routines on CD-players. Three pretty great shows. And around the camping area you could hear people blasting new strange hybrids of speedcore and jungle from their soundsystems. The hard music is back.


Acid. B12 won new fans (me included) with a traditionalist, transcendental, 303-based show. Another victory for knob-twiddling shamanism. And with Camp 303 organizing an official stage, there were no shortage of enthusiasts squeezing out the last drop of acid out of their beautiful analog equipment. The best music of the festival could often be found at that stage. But even with that crew becoming an official part of the festival, some of the most innovative and exciting performances could still be found on the camping area.


Jul 232009

Skweee-soldier Eero Johannes self-titled debut album on Planet Mu (label child of IDM-maverick Mike Paradinas, world famous for creating one of the hardest electronica tracks ever… well, at least it was the most uncompromising, beautifully controlled bloodsport BPM-beating of its era… seeing him live at Roskilde in 1998 was a defining experience for me) is the best I’ve heard in skweee so far.


What is skweee anyway? I mean, the sound is pretty diverse on their compilations, with beats and ideas all over the place. I think it’s easier to see it as a movement: a dozen or so Swedes and Finns who have studied electro funk, dirty south and modern R&B thoroughly, and now apply what they have learnt on the vintage synthesizers, video games sounds and DIY-spirit that they’ve grown up on. More than anything else, it is the lo-fi aesthetic that defines them (with skweee referring to squeeezing out the most of their arcane equipment).

Noting that, it is interesting to see the very talented Eero Johannes spreading his wings here, sometimes lifting from the lo-fi valleys of home to sail among the clouds in the sky. Lipton Service Boy delivers euphoric electro pop. He mixes dubstep and new romantic influences on Sumuhumus and gets away with it. Hal Manifesto is both computer poetic and mad funky at the same time (which is quite an achievement, actually). Natt i spårvagnen and Mobile 363 are equally funky, while Eläin wanders out further into the electronica wilderness.

Delicately balanced between futurism and nostalgia, Eero Johannes is a multifaceted and innovative release that you ought not miss.

Now let’s see what kindo of show they put on live!

Jul 212009

This Flogsta Danshall compilation from last year is quite a good introdution to the skweee genre (wikipedia says that the name “was coined by Daniel Savio, one of the originators of the emerging sound. The name refers to the use of vintage synthesizers in the production process, were the aim is to “squeeze out” as interesting sounds as possible“).

The tracks are mostly pretty experimental, with a few more stable electronic funk tracks to keep things interesting (even though they’re also pretty out there). Using the immanent lo-fi aesthetics of the genre to punch out IDM and glitch-like material feels too easy, and not very interesting to listen to. Of those tracks, Eero Johannes’ Finnrexin, from his brilliant self-titled Planet Mu release, gets a pass thanks to its beautiful electronica vibes. Other than that – add some much-needed funk to the recipe or get out of the kitchen!

It is better to take the said dirty south and booty-influences of the genre seriously, crank up the bass, and skweeeze out some ass shaking, titty bouncing, sweat inducing, dance floor bangers. Well, they’re not quite there. Not yet. But with tracks like Drums’ Giants, Randy Barracuda’s Shock The Plankton and Metske’s Street they have written a new chapter in the book of electronic funk. For that I salute them.


You can catch the Flogsta Danshall crew going live against the Harmönia collective at the Norberg festival this summer!

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