Thursday 3 September 2020


Olivier Debre - Vinter Oppdal (1979)

I've been stuck in a higher gear than usual when it comes to my choices for these posts these days (last one with the mixtape excluded). A welcome change for sure but man, you gotta slow things down every now and then don't you? I will admit re-publishing all the old posts made me realise just how much downtempo and trip hop I was into back then and it was definitely a lot. But today I'm going to indulge that side of me again just for today, starting with Flunk.

I found Flunk through my deep dive into Guidance Recordings, while mainly a house label they had a very strong downtempo component as well (see their Hi:Fidelity Lounge and Hi:Fidelity Dub series of compilations for a perfect demonstration). I feel like Flunk should be more prominent than they are, their debut, the incredibly aesthetically titled For Sleepyheads Only came out in '02 and was primed to be part of that wave of chill electronic that was popular at the time thanks to Röyksopp and friends, though then again Flunk didn't have a big label behind them like Röyksopp did. Still, both it and the remix album are very fine slices of that Northern European chillout electronic scene. The remix here from Athome Project takes the already very trip-hop styled See Thru You and strips it back to the bare bones, adding some glitchy IDM-esque skips and bleeps here and there and some extra synthy bits that are more than a bit Portishead inspired.

Contrary to the title and that last choice, it's not all doom, gloom and general cold vibes. Revisiting Funkstörung's Disconnected here with one of the singles from that album, Moon Addicted. I summed up the LP best last time I talked about it, the order of the day here is electronic meets acoustic with just a smidgen of IDM influence which from the text alone should tell you ticks more than a few of my boxes. This is one of a few tracks featuring Enik on guest vocals, and they certainly have a unique style that's not for everyone (particularly on the title track of this album), I can change opinion on them now and then but I think they work pretty well for the most part, especially on the choruses here. It's another one I have strong memories of thanks to its music video, which is just a time lapse of someone tweaking vectors in Adobe Illustrator, which is what I was doing when I was getting into this album!

A real throwback to wrap us up, Mr. Scruff's debut Mrs. Cruff. It's a very different sounding album than the follow up Keep It Unreal, that album is known for Get A Move On, the sample heavy single that I'm pretty sure that people hold up as early electro-swing. By contrast Scruff's earlier work is much more stripped back, the samples and Jazz influence is still there for sure, but there's a simplicity to the tracks that give them a lot more breathing room (and not to mention many, many outrageously bassy basslines, this track included!). It's not a complaint really, it's just interesting to see not only Scruff's style but technical working get more complex with time. If you're a fan of Scruff already you'll find plenty to like here as from the sound to the cheeky bits of humour scattered throughout it has his personality stamped all over it. If this is you're first exposure to Scruff and you're left wanting more from it, you'll do no wrong by checking out Keep It Unreal and beyond for more in this vein!

And so ends our whistle stop tour of some downtempo vibes, feels just like old times. Reminder that this upcoming Friday (the 4th) is another Bandcamp Friday, where they're waiving their usual cut of sales so that all the proceeds go to the artist, if you enjoyed anything you heard here today and are going to pick it up, consider waiting until Friday to support the artists and labels a little bit more!

As always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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