Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 15 - 01/12/98
Last Year At Home
Another year has passed by. Another heap of discs have piled up.
Some of them already hidden forever in the big closet where small
pieces of history get stucked away as yesteryear fades out. Many
of them easy to forget, but some still have the right to spin on.
I guess the Norwegian music industry is just about happy with 1997,
as they managed to increase the numbers of sales slightly. Thanks
to all the more or less crappy
Absolutely - Best - of - the - Greatest - of - all - Time - Hit -
collections they're selling before x-mas, I guess. Well, if
blowing holes through both your feet by trigging your own
shotgun make you feel happy, you're welcome...
We've been reviewing some Norwegian recordings here at the Kafé
through the year, and will now mention a handful of the others. As usual
we tend to pick records that don't compete with Elton John and friends
on top of the hit-lists. Finally; Aqua is not Norwegian - let's
blame Denmark! (Well, eh, I must admit that I've been jump-dancing around
the floor like a maniac myself with that Barbie-girl. But only once!!)
(Not a surprising act from someone who prefers to listen to Madonna
when doing the dishes,
and who constantly keeps asking his friends if they've seen the latest
Silverstone movie. I think I see a pattern here ... - other editor's
The one-man-project Biosphere is Geir Jenssen doing
arctic-polar-ambience. Jenssen (once member of Bel Canto) made
his 3rd album, Substrata, from his home-town Tromsø, way
up north. I guess Biosphere is one of the most known Norwegian
artists outside Norway, without making Mr. Jenssen a big star.
Launched to millions of people world-wide a couple of years back,
when his Novelty Waves appeared in a Levi Strauss commercial.
His cautious, exotic, rhythmless compositions are getting critical
acclamation all over, f.i. in the Brit music-press. Actually he made
two albums last year, as he did the soundtrack for the Norwegian
thriller Insomnia as well (the directorial debut by Erik
Skjoldbjærg, also from Tromsø).
To stick to modern music; Palace of Pleasure with
their album Emperor Norton (dBut) and Sternklang's
Freestylespacefunk (Beatservice) were two of the "technological"
albums of 1997. Palace Of Pleasure presenting a conglomeration of
rhythms and sounds, while the one-man-outfit Sternklang (a.k.a. Rune
Brøndbo), did a mixture of hip-hop, dub, and drum'n'bass. Timbre!
My Sensational Panda is a bunch of young popsters from Oslo,
with a fixation on fluffy and cuddly animals. They released a
self-titled EP (on the Ironic label), and showed great skills.
Power-pop, with songs like Brand New Holiday and
Teddy's Life. Catchy panda-pop. I believe they also
released a split-single (with whom?) just before x-mas.
Kåre & The Cavemen got promoted when being the "in-house band"
through a series of TV-programmes on the Norwegian state channel NRK2
during the autumn of '96. Then they released their debut album,
Jet Age (Virgin), last year, which was applauded by the press.
And the music? Instrumental surf! Lead by guitar-king Knut Schreiner,
they played (or, dare I say surfed) The Roskilde Festival (Denmark),
and became minor pop-stars back home. Novelty stars. At least for a
From Stavanger on the Norwegian south-west coast, the Chairs
released their debut LP Gary's Philosophy (on their own Majones
Records). Fresh and energy-filled indie-rock, recorded to an 8-track
recorder. Raw and catchy. Have a chair and listen for yourself.
The goth-romantic Seigmen made their 4th full album,
Radiowaves, this time with English lyrics. It's back to
the unlusty 80's. After their break-through with Metropolis,
they tried to "break" (well, a few promo-gigs) in London. Without
success. I'm not a fan, but they deserve credit for doing their stuff
100%. They also keep the whole latex and make-up business extremely
Kari Rueslåtten, once the voice of Trondheim metal-folklore-band
The 3rd And The Mortal, made her first solo-attempt, Spindelsinn,
and did it quite well. Picking inspiration in the woods and from nature,
and flirting with Norwegian folk-music, she distils magic with her great
From Bergen, Poor Rich Ones make feinschmecker pop-music, put
in a genre called "New seriousness", and could in November present their
2nd album, From The Makers Of Ozium (Rec90). Last year they prepared
to take one step further, by presenting their music on a music industry
festival in Germany. Maybe to bring them out across the borders of little
Finally, thanks to The Tables; for being back, for still being
The Tables, kings of naive pop with a big heart. And for doing Kjære
alle sammen (Dear Everybody - from the album reviewed earlier, but
also released as a single - both on 7" and CD), their only song in
Norwegian. A sarcastic comment on some Norwegian artists. Great fun.
So, will 1998 bring us the debut album from Bronson Comet
Lighter then? I hope so. The best of luck to all the small
indie-labels out there.
Copyright © 1997Håvard Oppøyen
Original photo "Kjell
Magne med sigaren" © Janne Møller-Hansen/VG 1997