Espen Beranek Holm is a Norwegian musician and comedian, born 1960 and began his music career as a clarinetist. Inspired by early synthesizer bands Kraftwerk and The Residents, he began making experimental pop music. His debut single Dra te’ hælvete’ was released in 1981 and was immediately banned by national TV/radio channel NRK due to explicit lyrics. This gave the young artist tons of publicity, helping the single spend almost 6 months on the national charts. Beranek returned to the Starholm Studios in Oslo from June – September 1981 to record nine new compositions. His debut album, Sound of Danger’, was released on Mind Expanding Records in November 1981. Nowhere near as accessible as the previous single, the album fared poorly commercially. Withdrawing from the single’s fun, kitsch pop, the album is cool and static, driven by thin rhythm boxes, cold synths, and glacial guitars. Taking heavy cues from David Bowie, all of the songs are sung in a nasally English accent, a rare occurrence in Norway at the time. The lyrics are melancholic, but tinged with paranoia. There are also upbeat tracks that evoke a prog or glam sensibility a la King Crimson, Alan Parsons, or Roxy Music.
Z Records are back in the funk hot-seat, but this time Joey Negro presents a snapshot of the edgier, robotic sounds of the emerging early 80s electro scene. From stone-cold classics such as Hashim’s Al Naafiysh (The Soul), Tyrone Brunson’s ‘The Smurf’ and Key-Matic’s ‘Breakin’ In Space’ to revered party anthem’s such as Aleem’s ‘Release Yourself (Dub)’, Two Sisters ‘High Noon (Part 2)’ and Dwayne Omarr’s ‘This Party’s Jam Packed’ to electro oddities like Paul Hardcastle’s ‘Rain Forest’ and The Packman’s ‘I’m The Packman’ we get a genuine labour of love and a timely reminder of the raw drum machine sounds that were soon to define the beginning of the house and techno scenes we have today.
It seemed like Neo Ouija, a Norfolk based IDM imprint, had closed up shop. Four years of silence suggested that founder Lee Norris, aka Metamatics, had decided to call it a day. But looks can be deceiving. 2016 saw the boss release a CD album of fluid acid, squelching electro and heartfelt electronics. Shipwrec are now bringing four choice cuts from Bodypop to the vinyl faithful. Proudly sitting on the “difficult to define” shelf, Norris seamlessly shifts from frigid winter moods to warming autumnal sunshine. Old-school sounds are rewired, softened by delicate keys and steady beats. Machine music morphs into organic matter. Acid coils, echoed bleeps and clicks grow and blossom into vivid audio vistas with Metamatics, once again, proving his musical mastery.