- Norwegian duo Royksopp are contributors to the low-key, electronic pop genre dubbed 'The Bergen Wave'. They’re well known for melancholic disco anthems such as 'Poor Leno' and 'Sparks', but perhaps their greatest claim to fame has to be their track 'Eple,' the start up sound byte to the Apple Panther operating system, not to mention the theme to BBC World Online's show ‘Click’.
Royksopp's ‘Back to Mine’ mix compilation can only be described as Jarlsberg, but that is not to say that a little cheese cannot brighten your day. Although not entirely what you’d expect, the first half of this compilation is nothing but praiseworthy, taking on some of the great eighties electro-pop and shoehorning it into Dimitri-from-Paris-style disco. The effect is all very reminiscent of the late seventies, although the distinct squiggly toy-laser-gun sounds throughout the compilation definitely add a Royksopp touch to remind the listener who is behind it.
The mix kicks off with Talking Heads' 'Rolling Under Punches', and the band sounds nothing less than one of the greats here, but the party really starts when the late-seventies disco kick in. Pino D'angino's 'Ma Quale Idea' pins a commercial bassline to Pino's deep Italian voice – the track is an electromagnetic wave that will force you to dance. Later Mike Oldfield's 'Platinum' and Jesse G's 'That Hot' keep the fun, disco theme alive, with a slightly more down-tempo but funkier angle.
The compilation takes a 180 spin with the appearance of 'Legs' by eighties synth-pop group Art of Noise – a good tune which feels a little out of place here. More in tune with what Royksopp are about are I-Level's '3:am' and Klein & MBO's 'Dirty Talk', both of which are real treats: lo-fi yet fun basslines and synthesised Moog and organ samples are what I was expecting to hear on this compilation - sounds that prefigure the contemporary electronic disco that the likes of Royksopp and Mylo produce.
But it’s not all such smooth sailing. 'It Ain't Easy' by the unknown (for good reason) Supermax is a tune you’d be disappointed to hear at a Bangkok hotel night club. Likewise, the tracks by Idris Muhammad and Guy Dalton might have their moments, including sassy soprano sax solos and fun & funky guitar, but the meat of the tracks just don’t stand up.
From here, the compilation really goes downhill. Cuts from Valarie Dore and Ginny are good lo-fi eighties pop in their own right, but they’re vibe killers here – too downtempo. Royksopp tends to be low-key, but you wouldn’t expect them to go this far.
Technically, the mixing on ‘Back to Mine’ is great and the first twelve tracks are on the whole well placed and nicely selected. But as a mix it climaxes too early and leaves you feeling a little like a child who has had your double scoop ice cream taken from you. All in all, it’s the perfect CD for a boozy afterparty in the kitchen, albeit with a built-in comedown.
1. Talking Heads – Born Under Punches
2. Harry Thumann - Sphinx
3. Kasso – One More Round
4. Pino D’angino – Ma Quale Idea
5. Edgar Winter – Above & Beyond / Ray Mang & Nathan D’troit – Off Side
6. Mr Flagio – Take A Chance
7. Mike Oldfield - Charleston / Emmanuel Splice - Meatball
8. Jesse – That’s Hot (Joey Negro Re-edit)
9. Art Of Noise - Legs
10. I Level - 3A.M. Give Me
11. Klein & Mbo - Dirty Talk (European Connection)
12. Supermax- It Ain't Easy
13. Idris Muhammad – Could Heaven Ever Be Like This
14. Guy Dalton – Night People (New York Club Mix)
15. Valerie Dore – Get Closer
16. Ginny – Can’t Be Serious
17. Funkadelic – I’m Never Gonna Tell It
18. The New Birth – It’s Been A Long Time