Smalltown Supersound, 2007
By Allana Mayer
Everyone is making a big deal about Feil Knapp being Bjørn Torske’s first album since forever, but since I’ve never heard of this guy before, I promise not to let it make my review as blindly praising as everyone else’s. Deal?
Right, so this album is great.
I read somewhere that “Feil Knapp” means “wrong button,” which I suppose is a rather clever album title for an electronica producer. The rest of the song titles I haven’t a clue about, but I’m sure they’re equally witty. I suppose I could just describe the music itself as witty, instead.
With his tongue placed firmly in his cheek, Mr. Torske has created wickedly catchy tunes. “Spelunker” becomes — after an adorable videogame-noise intro — a mix of a reggae beat and a Hammond version of some Dracula-ish theme, and while this is hilarious, it’ also actually easy to listen to. Later on, some sort of James Bond-inspired melody gets blended in with 70s disco in “Fembussen Hjem,” and is similarly amusing. Never fear, for you can get rid of that niggling “Where have I heard this before?” thought by simply not listening too closely.
There’s a surprisingly small amount of bass in these tracks, focusing instead on the variety of percussion noises in the danceable rhythms. There’s nothing horribly daring here, no challenges to the ear. The quirky bastard tosses in mindlessly fun whistling and clapping (“Hatten Passer”), some typewriter-esque clicks (“Tur I Maskinparken”), and more reggae (“Møljekalas”) into the mix.
Torske toys with the various elements of each song enough to keep you interested, though they’re all pretty elementary compositions. It’s like Electronica-by-Numbers, but with a really expensive crayon set instead of the cheap ones that break on first use. Still, it’s hard to go wrong when you stay inside the lines. What makes Feil Knapp worth being pinned to the fridge is Torske’s clever mix of odd source material with familiar sounds, and the general upbeat attitude throughout. Sometimes, being inoffensive and cheery is enough to get you a thumbs-up.