Now that's not to say there aren't some fine moments (like, perhaps, finding some meatballs in the midst of your lutfisk). My favourite is probably Prins Thomas's previously unreleased mix of Jarle Brathen's "Takras"—a mid-tempo roller that veers off unexpectedly into worlds of wizardry and wild romance with gloriously over-the-top washes of sound, hints of acid, and mysterious fragments of Italo melodies. Unashamedly "trippy," it makes good use of the slow tempo to create a drifting, expansive mood that's harder to do at a faster clip.
And indeed much of the compilation is mid-paced, although probably too synthetic and gloomy to be labeled "cosmic." These tracks are more about mood than physicality and mostly evolve their themes gradually rather than seeking to grab the attention from the off. This works well on "Takras" and also on diskJokke's extraordinary "Cearadactylus" where a simple swaggering groove turns into a demented collage of dinosaur screeches, flanged zooming noises, and rhythmic chirps.
As internally focused as they are, these tracks still maintain vestigial dancefloor appeal. This is not the case, however, on the weaker tracks such as Mental Overdrive's "Spooks" which meanders around the foothills of psychedelia instead of shooting off for the highest peaks, and is weighted down beneath a beat that doesn't quite mesh fully. Indeed, clumsy beats plague a few of the songs here, making for difficult listening at times.
Towards the end of the unmixed disc, the pace takes off: "Vesuvio," "Kryss Mitt Hjerte," and "Skanken" are more straightforward dancefloor-oriented disco. "Vesuvio" goes for an early '80s jittery percussion and slap bass feel, whereas "Kryss Mitt Hjerte" is a bassline roller with funk guitar touches. Both are competent, danceable tunes, but remain somewhat anonymous. The standout of the three is "Skanken," touched by the hand of the much-regarded Blackbelt Andersen. It's slick, speedy, and trancey and is reminiscent of Hi-NRG while having a clanking toughness that makes it instantly more contemporary, and as comfortable sitting in a techno set as a disco one.
There are two discs included here, the second being a continuous mix by Prins Thomas. (For the most part, the unmixed disc focuses on previously unreleased material, whereas the mix is the "greatest hits" portion.) The only point of crossover between the two is Blackbelt Andersen's "Sandoz," an odd choice to highlight in this manner as it sounds like "Erotic Discourse"'s retarded cousin.
We all know what a fantastic DJ Prins Thomas can be (and if you need convincing, look no further than Cosmic Galactic Prism) but that isn't much in evidence here. The basic trouble is that Thomas's sets are normally spiced with oddities and curios from the last 30 years of music, whereas here he is restricted to the Full Pupp back catalogue.
Don’t get me wrong—the Full Pupp back catalogue contains lots of fine music, much of which appears on this CD. However the label specializes in the bizarre, and as such most of these releases sound at their best when dropped into a more straightforward mix to provide an unexpected twist and a bit of contrast. Taken all together it’s too much of a good thing, and proves more than a little wearying on the ears.
To make an analogy: Jay and Silent Bob are funny in Clerks because they only occupy about ten minutes of screen time. Give them a movie to themselves, though, and it stinks. Of course this is not a movie, and due to the wonders of our age (also known as mp3s) you can choose which tracks to buy. The unreleased material here contains some gems (as does the Full Pupp back catalogue) so give the mixed CD a miss and head straight for the good bits.
Sun / 3 Aug 2008
CD1 (Mixed by Prins Thomas)
01. Marius Våreid – Skumle Planer
02. Todd Terje – Kul I Pul
03. Blackbelt Andersen - Sandoz
04. Ytre Rymden Dansskola – Haratak (Edit)
05. Magnus International - Kosmetisk
06. Blackbelt Andersen – Sirup (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
07. Magnus International – Onkel Reisende Mac
08. Diskjokke - Gadgets
09. Mental Overdrive – Original Material
10. Diskjokke – Asa Nisa Masa
11. Randaberg Ego Ensemble – Vestamaran (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
12. Kalle, Magnus & Daniel - Homs
13. Todd Terje – Italian Stallion
14. Mental Overdrive - Wotta
15. Ytre Rymden Dansskola – Kahluha Madness (Remix)
01. Blackbelt Andersen – Sandoz
02. Todd Terje – Glittertind
03. Jarle Braathen – Takras (Prins Thomas Edit)
04. Ytre Rymden Dansskola – Afterski (Magnus International Remix)
05. Prins Thomas – Goettsching
06. Diskjokke – Cearadactylus
07. Mental Overdrive – Spooks (Prins Thomas Diskomiks)
08. Jackmaster Dahle – Vesuvio (Prinsens Disko Deluxe)
09. Kalle, Magnus & Daniel – Kryss Mitt Hjerte
10. Mental Overdrive – Skanken (Blackbelt Andersen Remix)