Norway - Full Moon 52 - 01/09/01
view from a hill
They did it n-o-o-o-o-r-way!
Year 2000 passed by without that many bugs around, or what? Here at Luna Kafé
we've been through and presented a lot of records throughout the year (go through our back
issues, our simply check our archive),
but it seems like the productivity in Norwegian pop and rock is as high as ever. Since we've
only got one set of ears, two hands, and not enough hours (staff wanted!), it's impossible to
cover "everything". That said we don't want to cover every record released either. We
leave quite a lot to the tabloid world. Period. So, here's a quick look back on some of the
discs we didn't mention but maybe should've...
As always Motorpsycho never let you down. Not surprisingly their Let them eat cake
(Columbia) was indeed one of the best Norwegian rock albums of last year. And maybe their best
album so far (well, Blissard...)? From out of their cave came Euroboys with their
third (the first after skipping the rather corny Kåre & the Cavemen name), Getting out of
nowhere (Virgin). Cocky guitar rock with loads of self esteem, and substance. BigBang
stayed on their track of 60s/70s retro rock with their 3rd album, Clouds rolling by (Warner),
and gained more success than ever. Americana melancholics Midnight Choir returned with their
4th, Unsung Heroine (S2), yet again taking waste Northern American landscapes to Norway. And
yet again with Walkabout Chris Eckman in the production chair. Punk and new-wave veteran Andrej
Nebb is always enjoyable company. On Kvite fuglar (S2/Universal) he once again presented
lyrics by the late Norwegian naturalistic poet Tor Jonsson. Of the dirtier rock Gluecifer
released another album, Tender is the savage (White Jazz/MNW), and toured the US with their
high-octane hard-on rock, while greasy'n'punky garage-combo Cato Salsa Experience gave us a
compilation Salso Casa (Garralda) (including earlier singles), plus a full album, A Good
Tip For A Good Time (Garralda). Hard-working, sweaty late-60's sound-a-likes Richochets
released their debut Slo-Mo Suicide (MNW/Progress) to excellent critics, and showed hat they
can also calm down inbetween the energy blasts they show live.
Best pop-album of the year was most likely Poor Rich Ones's Happy Happy Happy
(Rec90/EMI). The problem is they don't sell a lot in Norway. Maybe they can break abroad instead. Their
label, Rec90 is working hard, and managed to push another band from Bergen, Sister Sonny with
their melancholic indie rock While Others Dance, Sister Sonny (Rec90), in the US. A band that
sold quite well was Briskeby with their debut Jeans for Onassis (Universal). After a rather
intense hype, and lots of airplay for a couple of singles, they seem to be one of the winners of 2000.
I'm not convinced, but some of their stuff is catchy I must admit. A couple of the more underground
names to mention are Beezewax and Amy Sexton (no-one in the band has reached 20 yet!).
The former released South of Boredom (Popkid, USA), presenting powerpop up the Posies (Mr.
Stringfellow even produced the album!) and Superchunk alley, the latter created Este lunes
(MTG), holding fragile, moody pop shadows. Former Bel Canto singer Anneli Drecker released
her debut solo album Tundra (EMI) (assisted by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Snah &
Bent of Motorpsycho, Sivert of Madrugada, and Per Martinsen a.k.a. Mental Overdrive, among others).
Arctic pop with Anneli's magnificent voice on top. Another great voice, ice-cold, but still
heart-warming, belongs to Bertine Zetlitz. Her second album of chilled, somehow arrogant pop
was called Beautiful So far (EMI), and included the dazzling single hit Adore Me.
2000 was the year rap broke in Norway, at least when speaking of reaching the, eh, masses, and
kings of the hill were Tungtvann. No doubt! Dozes of heavy - explicit lyrics indeed - humor
and beats were to find on their Nord og ned (EMI), including the smashing, party-crashing
(literally speaking) Ubudne gjæsta. Other rap acts to be mentioned are: Klovner i
Kamp with Schwin (City Connections), Apollo and the Scenario EP (Rhythm
and Rhymes/Tuba), Oslo Fluid's Cycles of Life (City Connections), Uro with
Snakker så du skjønner EP (Rhythm and Rhymes/Tuba), and Pen Jakke's
Østen (Oslove). From the ambient, house and techno world the aforementioned Martinsen once more
activated his duo project Illumination together with exile Englishman Nick Sillitoe and
released This is Illumination (BMG/RCA). From up north Geir Jenssen a.k.a. Biosphere
showed smooth elegance and brilliance yet again with Cirque (Touch K/April). Another
one-man "band", Stefan Groth's house project Apoptygma Berzerk's gave us Welcome to the Earth
(Tatra Productions), and managed to hit the charts in Germany (is that good or bad?). Of a more funked,
house'n'disco-fixated nature came Motion Control with Groove Tool (Beatservice). A lot of the
noise-experimental impro artists (such as Lasse Marhaug, Supersilent, Del, Elektro Nova, Continental Fruit,
Fibo Trespo plus others) participated on the album Le Jazz Non, a compilation of Norwegian Noise
(Smalltown Supersound). Finally designer/artist Kim Hiorthøy (Motorpsycho's artwork, plus
loads of other stuff) made a surprising debut as a recording artist. His album Hei! (Smalltown
Supersound) is a mixed bag of home recorded rarities and oddities. Odd man out?
So that's it then? What else happened? Euro2000 was way too embarrassing to mention for us NOR-heads.
Oh, yes, Astroburger was hailed by a handful of colleagues (Ring, The Loch Ness Mouse, Slowburn,
Hobbits, to name a few) on I smell an ambush - A tribute to Astroburger (35G Records). We'll get
back to Astroburger as they've just started releasing a series of 7" singles - one each month through
2001! Way to go, Big Dipper Records! Yes, there's a lot of pro and cool indie labels around, and last
year there were at least two more: Racing Junior (label of the year!), and Trust Me Records (so far is
Laptop of US the only band inside, but maybe...). Other labels to applaud: Smalltown Supersound, Krank
Diskoz, Beatservice, dbut, bp, Myke Droner, Rec90, Yellow Snow. ...and now it's 2-0-0-1. Watch out
for: Kings Of Convenience, Mono Blue, boy, Xploding Plastix. Go!
Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen