Icelandic electronic music producer Bjarki needs little introduction by now. But, if you do need one, calling this Berlin-based musician an ‘experimental rave engineer’ could make things clearer. This year saw the release of his album ‘Happy Earthday’, which he described as his most reflective release to-date. His Icelandic-ness and experience of the country’s unique natural environment were a significant influence on the album. Only on occasion does Bjarki perform in Iceland, but when he does, he does it right.
His label, entitled bbbbbb, aims to provide quality experimental dance music for the masses and demonstrate that Icelandic dance music can be entirely original. So far they have released around fifteen EPs, focusing on the solo work of a handful of Berlin-based Icelandic artists. One being Kuldaboli who specialises in cold-as-ice electro music. His music is featured twice on ‘HELLCAT VOL. 1’—a series of compilation EPs which appears to focus on faster, club-ready dance tracks—the label’s most recent concoction.
Kuldaboli shares one side of this compilation EP with Bjarki on their collaborative-track ‘Hrái Hötturin’—a pun mixing together the Icelandic words for ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘raw’—which manages to mix together their differing and equally-defining styles. Kuldaboli’s second track on this release—the high-paced ‘Hefurðu Einhvern Tímann Hugsað Um Það’ (‘Have you ever thought about it?’ in English) is shared with the seemingly-obscure Tekknótæfan.
Side-A of the compilation features a pair of industrial techno tracks, ’Sober Raving’ from the Polish globetrotting techno DJ VTSS, and ’Eating Steel’ by club-resident and label-owner Héctor Oaks, who was raised in Madrid before moving to Berlin. VTSS also performed at this year’s RAVEKJAVÍK—a small festival held in Łódź in Poland that spotlighted both Icelandic and Polish dance music enthusiasts.
For the sake of local dance music enthusiast, I hope they add Reykjavík to their calendar soon.
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