- An admirable compilation of house and weird pop from the Swedish label.
- "Keep it loose" seems to be Studio Barnhus's guiding principle. That applies both to the founders of the Swedish collective—Axel Boman, Kornél Kovács and Petter Nordkvist—and the label's music. Though grounded in house, the trio have shown a sincere curiosity for pop music. In the last 18 months alone, Studio Barnhus has released DIY pop (Baba Stiltz's "Baby"), a Cher cover (Your Planet Is Next's "Believe") and a Beach Boys-evoking melody with a possible nod to Metallica ("Sad But True" by Richard Sadface, AKA Superpitcher). But whatever the style, the music has been easygoing. That approach is apparent on Studio Barnhus Volym 1, which compiles house tracks and eccentric hybrids of dance and pop music from a mix of unknown artists and established names.
John Talabot, with whom Boman collaborates as Talaboman, samples a self-help lecture on "The Change." DJ Koze, who has released Boman's EPs on Pampa, plays with a slide guitar and odd samples on "Hawaiian Souldier." The curveballs, though, come from a couple acts making their label debuts. Qaadir Howard, a musician and YouTube personality from Phoenix, Arizona, turns in "Bloodied And A Mess," a deep-ish house track with a UK funky swing. Off The Meds' "Currency Low" is hip-hop from the Johannesburg-born, Stockholm-based vocalist Kamohelo Khoaripe and the Swedish trio of Måns Glaeser, Carli Löf and Adrian Lux. Lux's "Teenage Crime," previously remixed by Avicii, becomes more wistful in Boman's hands, with a misty-eyed acid line stretched out behind a mellow vocal.
Studio Barnhus Volym 1 has a few straighter house tracks. "On Roofs," by Kovács, is a chugger with smeary synth pads. Nordkvist, as Pedrodollar, gives "Reality World" a sunny atmosphere in the vein of The Avalanches' "Since I Left You." And there's "World Is A (Disko Dub II)," a humid roller from Torolf Stendik. But Volym 1 also goes musically and emotionally deeper. Boman and Miljon's "Forgot About You"'s piano house riff is offset by a vocal duet about a fading love affair. There are downbeat electronic pop tracks from Man Tear—AKA Boman and Nordkvist—and Paradise Alley. Belly Boo's "Boyboy," with the refrain, "I can't get him off my mind," repeated over wonky R&B, is as touchingly naïve as a crush-stricken teenager. Studio Barnhus Volym 1 doesn't always hit the mark—Superpitcher's "La La La Land," for example, is a too-simple loop of guitar and vocals—but at its best it shows admirable variety and ambition.
01. Man Tear - Night Fantastic
02. Lukas Nystrand Von Unge - Sans Titre
03. Off The Meds - Currency Low
04. Baba Stiltz - L.O.V.E.
05. Adrian Lux - Teenage Crime (Axel Boman Dub)
06. Bella Boo - Boyboy
07. Qaadir Howard - Bloodied And A Mess
08. Kornél Kovács - On Roofs
09. DJ Koze - Hawaiian Souldier
10. Sofia Kourtesis - WinWin San
11. Pedrodollar - Reality World
12. Axel Boman & Miljon - Forgot About You (Piano Version)
13. Superpitcher - La La La Land
14. Paradise Alley - What Road
15. Torolf Stendik - World Is A (Disko Dub II)
16. Thomas & Jonas - Lågsäsong
17. John Talabot - The Change
18. Whispers Beirut - The Champion
19. Moonilena - Stone Talk