Ytre Rymden Dansskola: Ytre Rymden Dansskola
Full Pupp

Ytre Rymden Dansskola: doesn't quite roll off the tongue now, does it? Thankfully, the same can't be said for the cosmic disco produced by Marius Våreid and Jarle Bråthen (for the record, the name apparently means “Outer Space Dance School,” appropriately enough) which is ultra-smooth. That turns out to be a bit of a problem too, however, as the duo's music can at times be so polished it threatens to turn into background music. Their music could stand to have a little more bite, in other words, plus a rough edge here and there would ensure that its consonant fusion of Detroit techno, house, and electro- disco (or “deep sea diving-tropical island /cosmic / space /contemporary Disco,” as they themselves characterize it) would remain firmly in the foreground. Having said that, pretty much anything issued on Prins Thomas's Oslo, Norway-based Full Pupp label merits one's attention, and Ytre Rymden Dansskola, the label's second artist album (following Blackbelt Andersen's debut) is no different in that regard. One of the things that recommends the album is its diversity; sure, there's no shortage of Full Pupp's trademark cosmic-disco sound but there's also funk, electro, trance, and soul.

Ytre Rymden Dansskola's sleek “nu-disco” sound asserts itself from the very first moment of “1001 Natt” when a vocodered voice and analogue synths lead into a midtempo disco-funk strut. “Kjappfot” makes a significantly stronger impression when it digs deeply into its elastic, trance-styled house pulse, while “Boogie Bus” trumps it with a buoyant throb that the album could do with more of. “Magadrag,” nine pounding minutes of trippy tech-house, hits even harder, while “U-Sving” likewise grooves mightily. On the softer tip, “Bange Anelser” charms with its sonic sparkle and uplifting vibe, the languorous “Norlys” may be silky-smooth but in a rather hypnotic and finally spellbinding way, and the snappy, high-energy trance-house of “Afterski” gets an acoustic lift from the inclusion of piano chords. In a perfect world, Våreid and Bråthen would allow a bit more grit (of the kind that so powerfully distinguishes “Magadrag”) to seep into their next outing's tracks. It's really the only ingredient missing in their otherwise tasty material.

November 2009