Bjørn Torske: Kokning (15. Nov)

Bjorn Torske is a special artist with a special name. He was born in northern Norway where fishing has been the main industry for hundreds of years and his name literally translates as “Bear Cod”. Even making dinner is unique in Norway: you put the potatoes on to boil, go out to sea and catch a fish, then return to prepare the meal…This process is known as “kokning”. To say that northern Norwegians do things their own way would be putting it lightly…To say that Bjorn Torske is making music his own way would be exactly right.

Kokning was conceived between the release of Feil Knapp and the beginning of 2010. Through series of studio sessions of experimenting with different sounds; instruments, objects of different textures, whose sounds were played within different spaces of various acoustics. The results were then edited into basic rhythm tracks which then were overdubbed with new series of recordings in similar manner. The album it involves more organic/ acoustic sound basics and less programmed patterns than Feil Knapp.

Since Feil Knapp he has been working on a number of remixes for other artists, including Sunburned Hand of the Man, Lindstrøm, Crimea X, Big Robot feat. Conrad Schnitzler etc. Also working with music and soundscapes for a stage production, as well as touring with my own band, Bjørn Torske Band.

Kokning starts out beautifully. It’s both melodic and melancholic with a warm, slow ambiance. Soft psychedelics and a Balearic rhythm are introduced before it fades into Torske’s signature skrangle-house* and then ends with what can only be described as “Moondog disco” (imagine if Moondog and Count Ossie got together to make disco).

Kokning is Torske’s most fulfilled album and by far his best. This release takes avant-disco, weirdo-dub, post-punk, and quirky electronica — all elements found on his previous albums (Nedi Myra / Ferox, 1999, Trøbbel / Telle, 2001, Feil Knapp / Smalltown Supersound, 2007) — and mixes them into the ultimate Bjørn Torske album.

The first 12” from the album will feature a remix by DJ Harvey. The cover for the album is made by Kim Hiorthøy.

* Along with the late Erot, Bjørn Torske invented a genre known as “skrangle-house” (“rattle house” direct translated from Norwegian) and translates as a bit of everything from dub to disco, jammed within a resonate floor-friendly house pulse. This four-four Scando-movement began at Oslo venue Skansen, inspired by club regulars The Idjut Boys, and the term “skrangle-house” was henceforth associated with Torske and Erot. Torske’s underground hit “Søppelmann” (Svek) quickly became the skrangle-house anthem and the movement later became the foundation for the next generation of space disco artists such as Lindstrøm, Todd Terje, Prins Thomas, and Diskjokke.

Bjørn Torske Biography:
Bjørn Torske comes from Tromsø, a small area north of the artic circle and the capital of Norway’s electronic music scene. This town has bred great artists such as Mental Overdrive, Biosphere, and Royksopp. Torske was put in touch with SSR/Crammed Discs in Belgium through Geir Jenssen, and in 1991 he appeared on two separate 12″ singles on the label. From there, Dutch label Djax-Up-Beats picked up on the talented young Norwegian, and in the following years Torske released a string of underground 12″ singles on Djax-Up-Beats, as well as Reinforced Records, run by Mark & Dego of 4Hero.

The early 90’s found Torske in Bergen playing synthesizer in Biosphere’s live shows and touring with Geir Jenssen. After releasing an album on Djax-Up-Beats in 1995, Torske concentrated on DJing for a couple of years, releasing only one single on Per Martinsen’s Love OD label. His hiatus did have a noticeable impact, when “Fleet” became a club hit in Amsterdam and was pumped regularly by DJs Dimitri and Derrick May. Eventually Ferox’s Russ Gabriel was introduced to Torske’s music and an on-the-spot phone call led to the release of Nedi Myra in 1999.

Back in Norway, Röyksopp’s Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland followed Torske’s lead and moved from Tromsø to Bergen. New acts, clubs, and labels were emerging, transforming the otherwise sleepy university town on Norway’s west coast to the hippest place to be. Meanwhile, Torske had begun releasing singles through prestigious house label SVEK and on Bergen’s own TellĂ© Records and released “Disco Members” (2000, TellĂ© Records) and “Aerosoles” (2000,SVEK). In the same period, Torske produced his next album, Trøbbel (TellĂ© Records, 2001), as well as remixing his studio-partner’s Røyksopp`s first hit single “Eple”. Torske also toured Europe with Royksopp in the spring of 2002, but soon after he went underground for a few years. When Prins Thomas was asked: “What is the most desirable artist to sign, if money grew on trees?” by Fact Magazine, his answer was: “if I could lure him out of his cave for a second, I wouldn’t mind getting some new stuff from Bjorn Torske”. Thankfully, Smalltown Supersound managed to lure him out of that cave to return with the critically acclaimed Feil Knapp album in 2007.

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