- Tromsø, Norway's Per Martinsen, AKA Mental Overdrive, is a big-picture kind of guy. After more than 20 years making electronic dance music, he's recently been experimenting with unconventional formats and release strategies designed to disrupt music's commodity status—from a record sold on eBay in an edition of one, to "Music for Food," an offer to forego gig fees "in return for a nice local meal, maybe coupled with a glass of wine, and a warm bed after the gig."
With his project "Everything Is Connected," Martinsen ventures into new territory once again. This time it's a narrative that revolves around a shadowy, split character who sounds a bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as imagined by Haruki Murakami; unfolding across a series of posts to the Mental Overdrive website, it's a sort of multi-media mystery, complete with text, photographs and audio players featuring new music and field recordings.
More conventionally, he's also releasing a series of EPs. "Time/Mind" certainly captures the project's cyber-punk vibe, with a thrumming combination of chords and arpeggios that channels Power, Corruption and Lies-era New Order through Carl Craig's anthemic lens. It's got a bit of a classic rave feel, complete with a charmingly cheesy vocal sample ("Time is of the mind") and a warped breakdown where the beats slow to a standstill. There's something almost kitschy about it, but that doesn't detract from its considerable force.
"One Canada Square" is another throwback jam, with steely rave stabs over a slinky acid mutation, but the other two cuts break new ground. "Shinjuku Station" is a briskly swinging house cut at 132 BPM, but it doesn't sound like what we've come to expect from that realm: the unvarnished analog synths sound a little like old Ada records, and the chirpy, churchly vocal samples are a world away from the R&B obsessions of Burial, Joy Orbison and their legions of imitators. "The Tower," meanwhile, plays out like dubstep slowed to 118 BPM, even as it recalls Dutch electro at its most extravagantly apocalyptic.
02. Shinjuku Station
03. One Canada Square
04. The Tower