Thor – “Decay” (2018)

Thor is Thorhallur Skulason and Decay is his latest 12″, a four-song house groover. Every article I’ve seen about it tells me this is dub techno, but whatever you want to call it, it’s guaranteed to get your body moving. You’ll find yourself getting off the couch an bouncing around the room without even realizing it happened, because these songs are infectious, sneaking into your system and firing off synapses to make your muscles twitch. “Rusty Flashback” in particular is a serious pulsing jam with great flow and beats.

Albums like Decay are tough to write about… so with that in mind I’m just going to sit back, sip my adult beverage, and enjoy the ride. Because this is undoubtedly one of the best new releases of 2018 and is going to be getting a lot of plays between now and when we work on our year end Top 5 lists in December.

Davíð & Hjalti – “RVK Moods” (2016)

I thought I’d missed out on Davíð & Hjalti’s new four-song house EP RVK Moods because it sold out almost immediately upon release. (♠) Fortunately for me the guys over at Lucky Records put aside a copy for me, so when my box of Icelandic vinyl gold showed up a few weeks ago RVK Moods was one of the “mystery items” that they included. It’s like they’re psychics over there or something.

While it may only include four songs, RVK Moods gives you over 26 minutes of music, awfully close to LP territory. The longer track lengths give Davíð & Hjalti an opportunity to get into some groovy spaces and jam it out. “Moods” is a classic house number, but what gets me excited is “That’s Her,” with its infusion of jazz and old-timeyness blended in with the electro beats, a more acid jazz direction that the pair really nail. That vibe carries over to the B side on “Crime Pays,” but in a somewhat tighter package that doesn’t quite capture the true jazz improv feel of “That’s Her.” We close out in a similar fashion to how we came in, with the more traditional house tune “Whatever You Want,” perfectly bookending the two jazzier numbers.

This is the first vinyl release by Reykjavik record label Lagaffe Tales. They specialize in house, and if RVK Moods is any indication of what they’ve got going on, I’m going to need to be more proactive about looking for their stuff. Give a listen to some of it below.

I’m bummed that this is the last of the new music I got from Lucky, but the good news is that Iceland Airwaves 2016 is less than a dozen weeks away, and I’ve got an empty record bag waiting to be filled.

(♠) Word on the streets is that a repress is in the works.

Tonik Ensemble – “Snapshots” (2015)

I’m pretty sure that Tonik Ensemble and Tonik are the same performers – Iceland’s Anton Kaldal Ágústsson. If so, then we’ve actually seen him live twice before – once at Airwaves, and once in an early slot in a pretty epic line-up at Faktorý on a non-Airwaves trip, one that featured a then relatively new and upcoming band called Vök, Prins Póló, and FM Belfast.

Snapshot is Tonik Ensemble’s 2015 full-length LP release, a chill deep house dreamer, though one that features vocals on most of the tracks from an assortment of guests. I’m not sure exactly what I can tell you about this record, because this groovy style of electronic music seems to repel words like freshly stained wood repels water – you just beat up against it over and over again with your words and come away with something that more resembles a pile of Scrabble tiles than a review. Maybe I just don’t know enough about that the style or writing or Scrabble… I don’t know. But what I do know is that Snapshot is a bit more uptempo than true chill, maybe a bit more cool than cold. Though it’s still having trouble taking the edge off the 82 degree temperature inside my freaking house tonight. (♠) But it does help a little…

(♠) For my non-American friends, that’s 26 degrees Celsius. Ugh.

Ben Vedren & Pit Spector – “Prospector 3.1” (2015)

This was another of my random acquisitions from Paris’ Techno Imports last month. And I won’t lie, I was drawn to the jacket. So sue me.

From what I gather Prospector is a label that Pit Spector is using right now to put out various collaboration projects he’s doing with other DJs. Prospector 3.1, which features Ben Vedren,  appears to be the third release, following others done along with Ark and San Proper. Musically it’s some enjoyable mid-tempo house, featuring some organ flourishes here and there (“Trek”) and some whack sampled vocalizations (“Rave 3000”). To my ears “Trek” is the more straight forward dance track, while “Rave 3000” mixes up the tempo a bit and gets a little weird (in a good way) at times, almost wandering off into the dub-zone a bit.

There are only two songs on Prospector 3.1, but you’re still getting about 17 minutes of music since both are quite long. The record comes with a pretty cool poster insert as well, so make sure to look for that if you’re buying an unsealed copy. Snipits of both songs are available on Soundcloud HERE if you want to check it out before you buy.