“2007 was the year that pianos came back, more joyful and unabashed than ever.” That was Fact magazine and, no, they didn't mean Mika. Writing in reference to the debut single from DFA's Still Going, No. 19 on its top songs of 2007, the magazine rightly sights a faintly returning dance music trope. In a handful of tracks in 2007, the piano returns to the dance floor gushing with melody that instantly gratifies after years of being dismembered, deconstructed and often suppressed. The clipped flutters and rolls of Nôze's "Remember Love" (No. 71) and Róisín Murphy's heart-stabbing vamps on "Let Me Know" (nowhere in that aforementioned "top" one-hundred) were its other signature moments in the last year. In this already old 2008, we welcome Norway's diskJokke.
Staying In is the debut album from Joachim Dyrdahl and it opens with both hands cascading the keys on "Folk i farta." True to the Smaltown Supersound aesthetic, Dyrdahl is soon swishing stardust and dodging stray blips while a disco strut powers his sputtering comet. For most of its 10 tracks, Staying In is stitched together with arpeggios, a flourish lifted from keyboard fingerwork but here, as in almost all instances in dance music, automated and set afloat. It burbles, trickles, stutters, percolates, shimmers, blubbers; always a sketch of a tune amidst the intergalactic churn.
Though the rhythms tend to rustle absentmindedly (most of Staying In's beat configurations are so perfunctory they may be sourced from presets), Dyrdahl slips tresses of weep in the form of trebly harmonics. Dyrdahl adds more than smacked metals and squiggles of radioactive synth to Still Going's twinkling, cosmic chandelier. Instead of weighing down the boisterous arrangements, some of which even squirt brass (the title track), Dyrdahl lets plaintive wisps waft over the bustle and seep through its edges.
The disc never lets up its revelry, in fact closing by uncorking the fizziest blast of chattering bon vivance with "Some Signs Are Good.” But amid its concerted and relentless jubilance, this remains a party set on the frost-encrusted surface of the moon.