Oh look, it’s time for another beguiling release from slightly demented Norwegian label, Smalltown Supersound. What is going on in Norway that allows all of these stoner dance records to be made? Diskjokke’s new effort is no exception.
The opener Reset and Begin doesn’t half have a feel of Kraftwerk’s masterpiece, Europe Endless to it (indeed Diskjokke have chopped that famous synth riff in half). Still, sonic trainspotting aside, this ten minute beast (for it takes all of ten minutes to go absolutely nowhere in particular, unlike Kraftwerk’s trans-continental electro), is a great, woozily hypnotic beginning to an album that delights and frustrates in equal measure. After that the listener is confronted with the title track; a heady take on Jean-Michel Jarre, starting off pretty tremendously with a steamily stentorian beat, only for things to get bogged down in a pleasant but futile trot. The plinky plonky synths do little to alleviate the sense of let-down. Still everything recovers enough to end on a relative high.
Things go up a notch with Big Flash and Rosenrød. The former allies some decidedly equatorial syncopation to a glowering blurting synth bass line to really great effect whilst the latter is a jaunty, friendly little analog synth meander that gets a little like Harmonia’s Deluxe in some passages. These two tracks do a great job in preparing for the magnificently dumb-ass 1987, which starts off as a camp take on INXS (surely deliberate given the song title?). Soon the drum fill from Leave You Tonight has been swept away by a toweringly monolithic bass riff, topped by some wobbly (but very endearing) synth foppery which put me in mind of an old Bassheads single, you know, the one which they ripped off Micky Jackson on. What was it called?
And now things slide a wee bit. Bastard Alliance is well, a bit too nervous for my liking: it begins with a Latin jiggle before sliding into some uneasy fusion of eighties soul pop replete with Level 42 bass stabs, only to turn into some Yello track or other. It somehow doesn’t sit well after the previous track’s narrow-minded assault. Bund is much better: a handy release of steam that plays about with the idea of becoming a Zuckerzeit-style Cluster track, albeit re-vamped and buffed up. Last up we have Nattestid which carries on the electro-Kraut feel with a passable take on the spookier bits of Autobahn, (Mitternacht or Kommeten Melodie) before settling down to a pleasant mid-tempo groove. Still who cares about the provenance? It’s a nice uncomplicated way to finish off the album.
Despite the odd moment and the slide off amidships, this LP is a hell of a lot of fun.