Prins Thomas & Full Pupp: The Greatest Tits Vol. 1
Full Pupp

No fronting here: this is my first exposure to Prins Thomas's Full Pupp material and I've clearly been missing out. The Oslo, Norway DJ and producer (real name: Thomas Moen Hermansen ) serves up twenty-five fresh samplings (ten previously unreleased) of “neo-disco” (or “space-disco,” at it's also called) on the double-disc set The Greatest Tits Vol. 1 (disc one mixed, disc two unmixed). Close your eyes during Blackbelt Andersen's “Sirup” and the image that comes to mind is one of live musicians breaking sweat onstage as they deliver funky locked grooves using bass, drums, guitar, and keyboards—light years removed from the faceless laptopper gazing at the screen and cuing tracks. Despite sometimes sounding like material played by a band laying down disco grooves in a ‘70s club (there are moments in “Kul I Pul” that could even pass for Chic—sans vocalists—jamming at a soundcheck), Full Pupp's cuts sound anything but dated.

The music's sparkle and tough dance pulse kicks in from the opening seconds of Marius Våreid's “Skumle Planer” and rarely lets up for the seventy-eight minutes that follow. Funky guitar patterns, Rhodes splashes, synth washes, and a snappy 4/4 pulse so unwavering it's reminiscent of “Stars on 45” constitute the basic sound. A bass-pumping disco groove, chicken-scratch guitar, and blinding synth showers help make Todd Terje's “Kul I Pul” an early peak. Magnus International and Terje contribute glorious grooves of spacey Italo-disco in “Kosmetisk” and “Italian Stallion” respectively, while Blackbelt Andersen gooses “Sandoz” with a tinkly piano hook that chimes repeatedly alongside the song's funk pulse. Anyone fading out near disc's end will be jolted awake by the stomping thump of Mental Overdrive's ten-minute opus “Wotta.”

And, on that note, anyone thinking that disc two will sound weak coming after the highs of the first half is in for a surprise, ‘cos part two's filled with one great cut after another (though admittedly a few—Diskjokke's tribal acid funk outing “Cearadactylus,” for example—are overlong). In fact, the second half may even be more satisfying, given that its tracks, liberated from the 4/4 pulse that anchors the mix, have greater latitude in style and tempo at their disposal. The seventy-seven-minute disc opens with a reprise of “Sandoz,” which finds Andersen drenching its relaxed groove with synth waves so huge, they almost bury the tune's piano and bongos; and Terje's dreamy electro-pastorale “Glittertind,” which offers a nice change of pace from the release's predominating focus on propulsion. The wobbly electro-funk of Ytre Rymeden Dansskola's “Afterski” also catches one's ear with the heaving bass throb and stately synth chords with which it begins, but then really takes hold when the crisp slam of its beats appear and then kicks its acid-boogie up a notch at the six-minute mark. Jackmaster Dahle marries ‘70s strings to old-school funk in “Vesuvio” and memorable too is the charging dub-house of Mental Overdrive's “Skanken.” Needless to say, there's an incredible pile of music to listen to on this set but it's almost all fabulous.

August 2008