Bjørn Torske - Byen
Sometimes you really have to go on a deep dive to find something new to listen to, and sometimes that dive leads you to Bjørn Torske. I've only listened to a few things from the Norwegien producers, mostly through Royksopp remixes He's done. Torske got his start with some rather spacey disco mixes, but then shifted into some really trippy soundscapey stuff that was far more experimental and less concerned with the dance floor. It's been eight years since his last solo record and He finally returns a bit to his roots on this new record Byen. "First Movement" opens the album with a gentle dance tune that feels classic from the outset. All live instruments, or close proximities make for a super jazzy experience. The waves crashing gently at the end of the track is a peaceful meditation after some more anxious moments. It's really not until "Clean Air" that you get the thrust of this album; the transcendent keys, the blind rhythm and relentless builds give this record such an incredible vibe. On the first track you feel like you were barely given a taste of where this music can take you, but then, everything changes and the record becomes so much better. Things take a turn for the sinister on Fanfatas" where the pounding almost bongos turn into these warbling synth lines, all with this through line of red pent up aggression. At seven tracks and 54 minutes Byen has such incredible patience. Each new bell, hand clap or BPM change is given the space and time to evolve all on it's own.
The best example of this is "Chord Control" where each moment brings something new to the mix. The song grows and grows turning into this massive synth celebration. There is a point where it almost sounds like he is sampling "Drum Machine" by Alex Metric, but it just has the same intense drum machine beat. "Gata" gives you this almost masonic chant piece which besides giving it some kind of ancient gravitas it doesn't do much to move the track forward. The sprinkly keys on "Night Call" are a different story. They wiggle and gyrate on a track that is built almost like a jazz space for experimentation. You can feel your body start to let loose as the Jungle noises begin to slowly creep in. What this album really does well is make you feel welcome. Everyone feels invited to this party and once your there the only requirement is that you move your ass. Torske has really done something special with this record, taking the minimal and pushing it to it's most extreme limits while still maintaining a dance core. Not a lot of records can boast the same, but Bjørn Torske can.
8.9 out of 10