In a World of Cold, Scandinavian Disco Warms the Soul
Posted on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by Austin Gerth
It’s late and I’ve been working sporadically on a 1-2 page response to the first part of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises for almost two and a half hours now, so I’ve decided blogging is a pretty good way to be productive while distracting myself from what I’m actually trying to do.
This afternoon I discovered Norwegian disco guy Todd Terje, whose music has a generally summery vibe to it. I’ve been listening to it steadily as I try to do stuff. Summery vibes are pretty rare up here in Moorhead at the moment, so the tropical mood of his productions (along with his Norwegian-ness, which means he’s dealing with just as much snow and cold as we are, probably) feels like a little escape. Listening to his tinny roto-toms and Dopplering synth tones, I can almost imagine not worrying that the tip of my nose will freeze off each time I step outside. Since Concordia is a heavily Scandinavian college, and since I have a weirdly in-depth knowledge of the genre, I figured you all could use a brief list of some of my favorite summery Scandinavian tunes so you can grit your teeth into a smile and pretend it’s not winter just like me:
Jens Lekman-“The World Moves On“: Lekman is a bummed-out but witty Swedish singer-songwriter whose music often relies on an ironic contrast between lounge-y backing and lyrics about romantic turmoil. This is by no means his most obvious song, but its got a mostly incredible lyric and a light groove that never wears out its welcome.
Todd Terje-“Strandbar (Samba)“: My favorite of the handful of Terje’s tracks I’ve listened to this evening. Like most of his productions, it runs long at nearly nine minutes, and that’s a good thing. The way the long, syncopated percussion intro leads into insistent electric piano chords is wonderful.
Lykke Li-“Jerome“: Lykke Li (pronounced “Lick-ya Lee,” I think) is from Sweden. This is perhaps the least summery, least disco-y track on the list, but the way she says “Jerome” lends the name a sense of mystery you definitely wouldn’t normally associate with it.
Air France-“Collapsing Outside Your Doorstep“: Air France were a Swedish group who broke up recently, having released precious little music. This is probably the most summery of these songs, though not necessarily the most disco-y.
Björk-“Isobel“: No list of Scandinavian music would be complete without including Björk, who is, inarguably, Iceland’s Greatest of All Time (no matter what Nahaylem says). Admittedly this song might only remind me of summer because I first heard it in summer.