Various Artists ‘The Sound of Norway’

Various Artists / ‘The Sound of Norway’

12″ vinyl / MP3

Paper Recordings

Released October 18th

“What is house? House is rhythm, love, peace, joy…” It seems rather fitting to quote the intro to Hipp-E and Halo’s West Coast mix for Fabric when reviewing a release this smooth.

Although maybe it’s more accurate to borrow the infamous “House is a feeling” sample. After all, the latest and quite anticipated release from the institution that is Paper represents the genre in exactly this way. Three tracks that sound different, held together by this hypothetical theory of a sensation experienced during both pounding percussive stormers and lackadaisical lounge groovers.

Ralph Myerz’s My Dream Queen opens, immediately creating a mysterious atmosphere with somewhat dark, or at least melancholic undertones. Whispered vocals carry over cosmic keys, spiraling onto ever higher planes. All the while the downtempo prog baritone ensures it’s more heads down club than ambient 4/4.

In contrast KeyBoy’s OYB is something closer to standard dancefloors. Opening with a defibrillator synth we’re soon taken under, and a ‘proper Paper’ sound kicks in. It’s not often basslines that ignore the first 12 beats in every 16 work, yet here the cycle-completing low end both caps of the sequenced rhythm and ensures enough bite remains to ignite the next few bars. Vocals layer inaudibly above your head, while punchy snares and muted organs bring it back to the old school.

Perhaps the most Norwegian thing on here, though, is Ciscoe’s debut, Elevators. Think Compost, think Swayzak, think disco strings and shoegazing whistles, packed against a treacle like melody equally addictive and submissive. The result is a submerged steppa that commands the neck more than it does the feet, though should perfectly marry the two in any discerning bar. As with the package overall, it’s an interesting reference to a thousand sounds, that manages to retain the magical feel of a nation blessed by the Northern Lights.