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Northern Disco Lights / Director Ben Davis Picks His Top Five

Ok this looks really good. As ever to do something like this its a labour of love but director Ben Davis is a fun person so with his take on things its going to be an entertaining ride.

Case one…

So with this in mind we asked Ben for his Top 5 (tight I know) Scando Disco records… And here they are…

Mental Overdrive – About Erot (Tore Fra Singapore Usikker Musiker Mix)

This is a phenomenal remix by Erot who can claim, along with Bjørn Torske to have set the blueprint for what was to come. It’s 15 minutes long and not a moment is wasted; it goes from a dubbed out intro into a heavy disco groove that keeps on building and getting weirder before a long spacey outro. This isn’t one of his best known productions but it shows just how talented and ahead of the game he was. He died tragically at 23 and it’s amazing to think what he would have gone on to achieve.

Prins Thomas – 2000 Lysår Fra Morellveien

This record reflects the wide range of influences that a lot of Norwegian producers put in to their music and their a freedom of creativity. It ties together dub, krautrock, techno and disco in to a hypnotic slice of leftfield trippyness that is very original. Thomas is a fantastic DJ and I think his open-mindedness when it comes to music is a big factor in that; you’d struggle to find many other DJs on the circuit with a working knowledge of death metal.

Bjorn Torske – Gullfjellet

No Norwegian list is complete without a Bjørn track. He is the mad scientist who I think encapsulates Norwegian music, you never quite know what’s coming but it’s always brilliant and a bit bonkers. We filmed him playing this live on top of Mount Fløya that overlooks Tromsø in the middle of winter which was really special. And cold. He wore mittens.

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Andre Bratten – Be A Man You Ant

Proof that the next generation is coming through strong. This is deep dance floor tackle that has that Norwegian essence which is so tricky to pin down. Andre also had the biggest modular synth in his studio I’ve ever seen.

Lindstrøm – Closing Shot

It was a toss up between this and a Todd Terje track and it’s a peak-time banger that gets played on daytime radio and in sweaty underground basements. Despite being lazily labeled as “space disco” Norwegian producers slip very easily between genres and this came of the back of an avant-garde project he did with Todd Rundgren. People like Hans-Peter, Thomas and Bjørn follow their muse rather than trying to do what is expected of them. The whole scene seems to exist in t’sown bubbly and for that reason have been quietly making some of the most ground-making music of the past 20 years.

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Ok, so there is a showing of the film this Saturday with the details below. Afterwards (and its nothing to do with the film) me and Lexx are playing from 8 – 1:30 am at Brilliant Corners so I suggest if you do go see it come by and see us afterwards. Here’s the press release…

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Northern Disco Lights: The Rise and Rise of Norwegian Dance Music:Saturday 5th November 9:00pmRich MixUK Premiere

  • Director. Ben Davis
  • Film screening, followed by Q&A with Ben Davis, producer Peter Jenkinson and musicians Bjørn Torske and Mental Overdrive

In the 1970s and 80s Norway was once known for oil, reindeer, Vikings and the Northern Lights – the radio stations played local folk and kooky pop while the country slid into a Eurovision stupor. By the late 80s a group of Tromsø teens geographically and culturally isolated set up radio stations, built synthesizers, threw parties and made dance music that broke all the rules. Taking cues from 80s synth pop, krautrock, dub, italo, jazz, soul, hip-hop, latin, afro, techno and house, they created a sound that was wholly original and distinctly Norwegian.

Word spread around urban regions of the country as like-minded kids recognized the call to arms. Berge’s Tellé Records captured the new sound but on the eve of their breakthrough hit, the 23 year-old prodigy at the centre of the storm was taken ill with a fatal heart condition.

Out of the ashes of tragedy a new generation realised their time had come. Norwegian producers, record labels and DJs exported this ‘new’ dance music and the world embraced it with open arms. Disco, which had been a dirty word for so long was re-imagined with Norway in its DNA and producers were no longer kids in bedrooms but superstars, who would go on to change dance music forever.

Northern Disco Lights is the new feature length documentary that looks to tell their story for the first time:

Two years in the making the production team has traveled the length and breadth of Europe interviewing all the key figures of the story including Bjørn Torske, Greg Wilson, DJ Strangefuit, Mental Overdrive, Lindstrøm, Annie, Idjut Boys, Prins Thomas, Mikal Tellé, Greg Wilson, James Hillard, disckJokke, Erot, Doc L. Jnr, G-ha & Olanski, Olle Abstract, Rune Lindbaek, SVEK Records, James Hillard (Horse Meat Disco), Mark Jones (Wall of Sound), Joakim Haugland (Smalltown Supersound), Matt Anniss, Magnus International & Blackbelt Andersen and many many more!

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Northern Lights is part of The UK’s Music Documentary Festival which returns for its 3rd London edition from 2nd to 13th November. Doc’n Roll Film Festival presents a selection of diverse music documentaries on subjects including Parliament/Funkadelic, The Melvins, Frank Zappa, Sid and Nancy, Bonnie Prince Billy, Bad Brains, Placebo, The Orb, Gregory Porter, satanic black metal, Norwegian disco (^), Burmese punk, jazz stars Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon and Bill Evans, plus legendary producer Bert Berns (starring Keith Richards, Paul McCartney and Van Morrison). Find out more here. X>

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