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diskJokke - Ein Fin Tid

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Artist: diskJokke

Album: Ein Fin Tid

Label: Smalltown Supersound

Review date: Aug. 31, 2010

With the unfurling nebulas and swoops, it’s easy to figure out how the tag “cosmic disco” got attached to the group of Norwegian producers that include Joachim Dyrdahl, a.k.a. diskJokke. Especially the “cosmic” part — the long intros, shifting sections and dense layering make it easy to lose track of time and other earthly concerns. Twenty-minute productions from this camp have a way of passing swiftly.

It seems to have something to do with the lightness of the “disco” half of the equation. Dyrdahl’s approach to the underlying beats is more focused on 1979 aesthetics than even the billions and billions of stars he heaps on top. Like Lindstrøm’s use of live drum kits, diskJokke doesn’t make his floor beats pound. They’re easy.

At the height of 1970s disco, of course, those four-count throbs were the focus of the haters’ objections: “too mindless or mechanical” was the criticism, as though it were cheating to make beats and handclaps so exact, so front and center. Subsequent subdivisions of dance music have been defined by how the beats have been further chopped up or magnified. But this reeling back to bygone volumes has a curious effect. It allows the tracks to move ever forward, in a precise but jamming sort of way, and still accommodate modern flourishes that keep it from seeming like an exercise in nostalgia.

What’s particularly charming about Ein Fin Tid is how Dyrdahl controls the emotion over the course of an hour. It’s like a bouncing rubber ball, the bounce gradually dissipating to a mummer of movement. The records starts at a level that’s nearly ridiculous in its fruity synthesizer wisps, kaboinging among the clouds. The title track (which translates as “A Fine Time”) gears up the softest sirens imaginable. They’re as functional as any dance siren — signaling that things are about to get big — but we’re launched into a sky of whipped cream clouds, not a crowd of moving bodies. Each subsequent number tranquilizes the mood a bit, but it’s cheerful for a while, even when a police bullhorn takes the stage. The tones are bright, even as minor chords work their way in.

By the time the record reaches the end, “Nattestid” has calmed the room to a “Tubular Bells” chime. It locks into a pulse that, unlike the rest of the songs, doesn’t pick up color from the passing washes. It makes for end-credit shot where the protagonist runs as the dark closes in. After such easy-going romping, it’s disorienting. When was the sun eclipsed?

By Ben Donnelly

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