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Quietus Mix 35: Diskjokke Heads Norse East
Luke Turner , June 30th, 2011 13:22

Diskjokke tells us the story of his gamelan-inspired new album Sagara, and presents a mix to accompany the record

Rather than merely seeing Festivals as an opportunity to get drunk enough to make indie bands tolerable, The Norwegians like to put in a bit more effort. So it was thatDiskjokke (Joachim Dyrdahl) found himself the recipient of a generous grant from the Oya Festival to go and, well, do... something. "They just wanted me to go and create something new, I had no limitations," he explains over the phone from Oslo, sounding tired from two gigs the night before, one at a food festival, the other in a club.

From the off, Joachim knew he wanted his Festival-financed project to move outside of Western music, or the electronic music that he’s become known for making. "I had thought of other music from around the world, African music from Mali and so on, but I really wanted to get away from percussion and from what I am used to doing," he explains. Gamelan, an ancient form of music from Indonesia, seemed like just the sonic departure Dyrdahl was looking for.

He flew to Bandung, Indonesia and "saw all sorts of different ensembles playing and being taught" and realised that there were, in fact, threads between the kind of Norwegian electronica played by himself and the likes of Lindstrom, and the gamelan. "We went to a wedding in Indonesia and it lasted for three days. There was a Gamelan ensemble of about 20 people there and they slept on the stage, and then played, and slept. It had that momentum of techno," he explains. As well as the music, the culture shock had a massive impact: "What struck me most was how busy everything is, how many people there are in the cities and how fast everything moves. And then you go into the jungle and there’s just nobody there, it’s such a massive contrast. There seems to be a different way of being from Norway, where everyone is so worried about safety and things like that. In Indonesia there was less feeling that life was important in that way."

All this shaped Sagara, the album that is the fruit of the Oya project. Aside from field recordings, no musical recording was done in Indonesia. It would be a mistake to look for a Norwegian Gamelan techno record from Diskjokke: "Some people have said that they can’t hear the gamelan in the music, but that was the intention, I wasn’t trying to make a gamelan record. It and Indonesia just melted into the music."

The interview part of this feature also appears in the current edition of the Stool Pigeon, which is out now.