May 19, 2020 | Guest Mixes

#86 kompressorkanonen for Deeprhythms

Mixed by: kompressorkanonen
Location: Oslo, Norway
Discogs Soundcloud

3rd mix on Deeprhythms from the enigmatic Norwegian DJ known as kompressorkanonen. If you are not familiar with his work then shame on you. Ørjan is a vinyl junkie from Oslo, one half of K³ DJ-duo with Joachim Krüger and one of the most active members of Discogs, responsible for the first ever Ogs record sale based on the history books.;

The man is known for his brilliant genre-crossing mixes, head to Soundcloud for more. Jaegr Oslo did a very nice biographical editorial and interview earlier in 2019, check it here. This quote will fill in the necessary details: “There’s always a unique mood or a theme pulsing through his mixes that adapts within the context of the various nights he’ll playing for. Whether he’s playing for an intimate leftfield audience at places like Kafé Hærverk or coercing a Saturday night dance floor to his will at Villa, experience and knowledge has given him a unique ability to accommodate the dancefloor without any concessions to his personal musical tastes.”

We decided to talk more about record collecting, music and vinyl, so let’s go.

Hi there Orjan, how’s things? What’s been keeping you busy of late?

H Timo! It’s good to be back on deeprhythms. Like everyone else I’m trying to make sense of this strange new world we live in.These are weird and confusing times, aren’t they?

Norway’s been on lockdown for two months – the measures haven’t been as harsh as in some other countries, and the restrictions have been eased a bit the last few weeks, but we roll the pavements up at dusk so we’re still a far cry from anything that resembles “normal”. 

I’m working from home at the moment, so my life hasn’t changed an awful lot, I just don’t go to the office and I don’t go clubbing. And I can listen to records when I’m working now, and have found the time to make some long overdue mixes, so it’s not all bad. Trying to stay positive amidst all the commotion!

Can you give us your biographical details - you started collecting vinyl in the early 90’s but took up DJing later on during your stint as a radio host if I’m not entirely mistaken?

I was born in 1976 and I’m essentially an unreformed Gen X-er 😊 I grew up in a place called Stabekk, a suburb outside Oslo where absolutely nothing goes on, culturally speaking. There was nobody there to take cues from, musically. At least not that I knew of. So I had to discover stuff by myself. My hometown’s main redeeming quality is that it’s close to Oslo. So when I got into techno, and pretty much no-one else I knew liked it, I had to get into the city and make new friends. Which I did. A lot of the people I hang out with now I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to meet if it wasn’t for the music thing, so I’m grateful for that.

I started buying records in 1992, but it took me over 10 years to start DJing. I was a very reluctant DJ! I had a show on (the now-defunct) Tellus Radio here in Oslo called “Kosmisk Polka” where I played all sorts of music together with a friend of mine. They had decks there, so I thought, OK, I’ll give it a go. I guess I was tired of explaining to people why I didn’t DJ when I had all these records. I started DJing to shut people up, basically. 

I was a music journalist for about 8 years – I reviewed hundreds of albums and did a lot of interviews, and I thought that writing going to be my “thing”. But DJing is a lot better than writing, honestly. To play your favourite records really loud while people are dancing to them – how great is that?

You’re known for your extensive knowledge of music. How has your collection expanded over the years - is there a method to the madness?

I used to be pretty methodical and follow certain labels or artists closely, checking out their back catalogues retrospectively if I discovered them a bit later than I should have, like Erik van den Broek (not sure how he managed to evade me for so many years). 

In the 00’s I went pretty much full-on retro as I thought current music sucked donkey balls (with a few exceptions). This was when buying records online was kind of in its infancy. Suddenly a whole new world opened up, and it was possible to get the records you thought you’d never, ever find. I scoured all the internet shops I could find hither and yon, and got involved in more than a few bidding wars on ebay. It was a bit of a rite of passage for collectors in them days, to get involved in a bidding war on ebay. I usually lost to this British guy. He was my ebay nemesis. A few years later I was the best man in his wedding.

I’ve bought a lot of records online over the years – it’s not easy to find old house and techno etc. records in Oslo. Nothing beats digging, though. Whenever I go abroad, I tend to go a bit mental in record shops. I was in Amsterdam before Christmas and came home with 70 records or something, and I only had a few hours to dig.

In the 2010’s and beyond there’s just been an avalanche of good new stuff coming out, it’s been so much better than in the 00’s, so I’m really into buying new records now. My brain is well past its peak capacity for absorbing new knowledge so I’m less geeky about labels and catalogue numbers and all that than I used to, I basically just buy records I hear and like, and a lot of the time I’ve never heard of the artist or the label. I guess I buy roughly 50/50 new vs. old records now. I still have a system, kind of, but I’m not really sure what it is.

From what I gather - you have a wide musical taste, but do you play all of the records you own or do you just have the collecting bug?

I’ve played all the records I have at least once at home, but of course I play some of them a lot more than others. I remember someone once described record collecting as having “a library of possibilities”. I can totally relate to that. If I hear a record I really like, I need to have it so I can sleep peacefully knowing that I can listen to it again whenever I want to.

I’m not a completist in any sense of the word. I used to buy all the Underground Resistance releases, but then they started to put out stuff that I didn’t really like that much and I thought, hang on, you don’t really need this do you? I like the idea of having a label or an artist almost complete – except for the releases you don’t care for. You have the records that matter to you. 

A good collection should be purged fairly regularly in my opinion. If a record doesn’t mean anything to you anymore, and you’ve given it a fair chance so it’s unlikely that it’ll grow on you, I reckon you should sell it or use it as a frisbee. Otherwise it just clogs up precious space that you need for the records you really like.

Is there anything you’ve gotten recently that you’re stoked on?

I just got the remixes of Misteria – Who Killed JFK. Remember that one? The original was a huge rave hit in 1992, and I still kind of like it although I have to admit that, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s not exactly a musical masterpiece. I had no idea that a remix 12” existed until last year, and when I heard it I had to have it. The “Get Into The 125 BPM Trance Remix” is the one for me. I know the title looks dodgy, but give it a go, you’ll like it! It sounds nothing like the original.



Phuture Scope ‎– What Is House Muzik? Yeah I bought it just recently, which is a bit embarrassing, but hey, you can’t acquire everything in chronological context. 

Gnork – Lost in X. One of the artists I’ve discovered the last few years.

Wink – Liquid Summer. One of his best.

What made you pick those up?

Misteria I heard somewhere on the internet. Wink and Phuture Scope had been on my wantlist since before time began. A friend of mine played Liquid Summer when we DJ’d back to back last year, which reminded me that I still didn’t have a copy, so I finally went ahead and bought one.

The Phuture Scope suddenly turned up at my local record shop, so I did what I had to do. I picked up the Gnork one while I was there. 

The reason I bought them? They’re great, that’s why 😊 And they have that “timeless” quality I look for, they’re never going to not sound good.

Are there any labels that you have a strong emotional attachment to?

R&S is my favourite label of all time, bar none. The old incarnation of the label, not the current one (although there’s been some good stuff on the present-day label as well). I have so many releases on R&S and its related sublabels it’s ridiculous. 

And Djax-Up Beats! I went to their anniversary party last year, that was special. Of course the Detroit gang (Transmat, KMS, Metroplex, 430 West, UR/Red Planet et al). And DJ.Ungle Fever, fnac/F Communications, Harthouse/Eye Q, Labworks, MFS, EXPerimental, itp, Synewave, Structure, ESP, Plink Plonk, Warp, U-Trax, Injection, Pod, Central, Search, Sounds Never Seen, Rising High, Fax, PCP, Plus 8/Probe, Peacefrog, Nightvision, Basic Channel, Overdrive, Exist Dance, B12, Beam Me Up!, Brave New World, A.R.T…. I can carry on all day but I’ll stop there. 

A lot of 90’s techno as you can see. And some trance (pre-96). I’ll never apologize for that, it was great for a few short years, and then it wasn’t, but it’ll always have a place in my heart.

Where do you usually shop/hunt for music these days?

Filter Musikk (the only record shop in town that sells electronic stuff), discogs and trips abroad. (The latter won’t happen again anytime soon, obviously). That’s it really. 

I’m not one of those guys who trawls through new releases on Juno every week, I don’t have the patience to do that. My philosophy is that the good stuff will come my way sooner or later, and how long it takes doesn’t really matter that much to me. 

I visited a friend of mine the other day, and he played me some Fit Siegel records that I really liked, and he was a bit shocked that I hadn’t heard them before. And I said, well, you’re playing them for me now, and I’ll get those records eventually, that’s good enough for me, I don’t need to rush it. But it’s good to have mates who are sharp and on the ball!

What have been your most memorable record finds? Any good stories?

I have such fond memories of Music & Video Exchange in London. I found some great stuff there over the years. It’s nowhere near what it used to be, but 15, 20 years ago it was just unbelievable. I found Blue Planet Corporation – Overbloody Flood in there once for 50p. That was a good day.

 Another experience which was pretty special was in an industrial area outside Glasgow, where the Rub A Dub guys had a warehouse which they opened for just for us. I went there with some other discoggers. I was like a kid in a candy store. 

One of my most vivid memories is when I was in New York in 1995 with my parents. Jumped on a tourist bus as you do, and the fare included a stop for lunch in this restaurant in Manhattan, where I spotted some smiley stickers on a door on the other side of the street and thought, “well that looks pretty interesting!”. On closer inspection it turned out to be the Sonic Groove record shop. This was on a Sunday, so it was closed, but I wrote down the address (no smartphones back then, remember!). Went there the next day and came out with an armful of great records. Lots of UR. I still have all of them.

One of my more unexpected record shopping experiences was in Haugesund in Norway a few years ago. I was there on a business trip, and found this really cool record shop called Shabby Records where someone had dumped a collection of early 90’s techno and rave records. If you know anything about Haugesund you’ll realize how unlikely that is. I bought 30 records or something. 

My mate DJ Spacebear is much better at this, he finds stuff everywhere, in the unlikeliest of places. I don’t know how he does it. But my favourite story is still my mate Ulrik from Ulli’s Tapes who found one of the Ravesignals on R&S in Drangedal, a very small town in rural Norway. I have a lot of questions about that one. I’m still not entirely convinced it’s true.

Why vinyl? I get it, but I need to ask. 

There’s nothing rational about it. It’s purely an emotional thing. I just happen to prefer vinyl. I like CDs, too, but I like vinyl better and that’s just how it is. I’m a reactionary like that. If it’s not on vinyl it didn’t happen 😊 

I’m not knocking digital DJs, if it sounds good it works, it’s just my personal preference when it comes to listening to music and when I’m DJing myself. I’m not going to try to come up with a post hoc rationalization as to why I prefer vinyl. I like to take records out of the shelf and put them on the turntable, and I’m looking at a computer screen every day at work so when I listen to music I don’t want that. And it’s difficult to have an emotional attachment to a collection of computer files, isn’t it?

One of my “ogger” friends said once that collecting records and spinning for him is a social activity. Whenever mates of his who are also into records come round to his place they have a session on the decks, likewise if he visits them. That really resonates with me. Because you don’t get that with MP3s. 

Do you have any thoughts or feelings about playing original pressings versus getting represses or reissues?

This question reminds me of a story from many years ago when a British rare groove DJ, whose name shall not be mentioned, played here in town. The DJ who was on before him had the audacity to play a tune from a compilation rather than the (obscenely rare) original pressing. The British DJ spotted it, ran up to him and shouted “you compilation cunt!” I don’t exactly subscribe to that kind of attitude myself, but I kind of admire it in a way, it’s pretty hardcore.

I have quite a few reissues. In some cases I’ve bought the reissue even though I have the original just because I think the reissue sounds better. Don’t get me wrong, I like having originals, I have the collector gene in me so I’m not denying the appeal of original pressings. But the one thing I can’t stand is when people moan when a record gets repressed because they spent a lot of money on the original and now the value has gone down and it’s not their little secret anymore. Well the record wasn’t yours to begin with, you didn’t make the music, you just bought it! It gets a little bit too Gollum for me.

One problem with the reissue industry is that it can get in the way of new music, and it feeds a nostalgia culture which can make the dance music scene a bit stagnant. And if you’re going to do a reissue, at least do it properly, like Clone and some of the others who do a really good job. Have you heard the Open Spaces reissue on La Bella Notte? Now that’s a ripoff if I ever saw one. What the hell were they doing?

When you are picking records for a gig or a mix from your huge collection, how do you approach it? 

If I do a mix that’s going online it’s usually some kind of theme, not necessarily a specific genre, but definitely a specific mood. I generally try to keep them under 90 minutes, so there’s usually not enough time to go all over the place. 

But I recently did a 3 hour mix for the 666 Lounge crew here in Oslo. The theme I was given for that one was to play at least one track from the year I was born and then at least one track from every decade thereafter, so that was an invitation to dig in every corner of the collection!

If I play out it depends on the event, the venue, which time slot I have and if I’m playing back to back with someone. I’ve played a few theme-based nights which have focused on a particular style of music (i.e. Detroit techno) so if it’s that kind of event I know which shelves to head for when I’m picking records. 

If I’m playing b2b with someone else we usually talk about it a little bit beforehand – we don’t break it down record by record as none of us can be arsed to do what, so there’s never any detailed planning going on, but we try figure out what kind of vibe we’re going for

If I play on my own with no particular limitations in terms of style I’ll start pondering a little bit about it a few days in advance. Sometimes I have an image in my head of a particular record that I really want to play, and how I’d like the crowd to respond to it, and I start picking records from there, building the set around a few “key” records, or two records that I think work really well together. 

I always try to mix different styles, and play both old and new stuff, so that’s a guiding principle when I pack my bag. You can always count on one thing though; the night will never, ever turn out to be exactly how you planned it. I usually plan the first record, and after that whatever happens, happens.

90’s comes up often when your name gets mentioned. Who do you consider were the most forward thinking acts back then?

There are so many artists that spring to mind. Sometimes you listen to a record from that era and think, what was going on in their minds? How did they come up with that? “We Have Arrived”, where did that come from? Obviously they didn’t make their music in a vacuum, they had influences like everyone else, but they ran away with them and turned them into something else. Like Biosphere. He mixed Brian Eno and Chicago acid records on the radio and thought, hey, that sounds pretty interesting, I guess I could try to make something like that. It worked pretty well!

I could mention a ton of names, including a lot of obvious ones, but I’ll keep it down to two. First, Basic Channel, which doesn’t warrant any explanation. Second, an artist I listened to the other day; Bedouin Ascent from the UK. I’m not sure if it’s “forward thinking” in the sense that it pointed towards possible futures, but it’s definitely idiosyncratic and really, really good.

What’s your take on the current state of electronic music? I know you are not stuck to any era.

It has certainly come of age. There’s not much innovation going on, and a lot of the new stuff that’s being released these days is obviously influenced by the 80’s and particularly the 90’s. 

I think it’s inevitable in a way, house/techno etc. are now established genres with a history that goes back several decades, and new styles of music are always at their most innovative the first few years before they settle into established conventions and start looking backwards for inspiration. 

Then again there’s a lot of stuff coming out now that’s certainly not very revolutionary but still very good. What I don’t like is when people try to make faithful reconstructions of the past and use 90’s records as a template rather than a source of inspiration. A lot of the pure retro stuff is a bit too calculated and knowing. It’s futile to recreate the past, the mindset and the culture was different then, so if you try to copy it note for note it’s not really going to be genuine because you’re walking in other people’s footsteps.

I have mixed feelings about the whole retro phenomenon, I can’t exactly denounce as I’m an incurable 90’s head myself, and it’s great to have the opportunity to play records out that maybe didn’t get the chance to shine when they were released because they drowned in all the other stuff that came out at the time. But I’m a little bit concerned sometimes that it makes the scene stale. When I got into techno, what I liked about it was that it was futuristic and sounded like science fiction. Like the first CJ Bolland album, or Robert Leiner, it was like a UFO coming out of your speakers! And I think that aspect of it is missing a bit in today’s electronic music. It’s all gone a bit rare groove.

Also, the scene has changed a lot, sociologically speaking. The punters are generally older. Not to mention the DJs! When I started going out you hardly met anyone over 30. And it was rougher in the 90’s, there was a lot of unsavoury characters around, whereas these days there are all these art school kids everywhere (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

So to sum up, a lot of great music coming out, and it’s certainly better now than in the 00’s – I’ve been known to bore people to tears about how much I hate that decade – and I think it’s generally quite healthy, but perhaps the scene needs a shake-up. It’ll be interesting to see what the dance music scene will look like when all this is over. I’ll be surprised if it just carries on like nothing has happened, but what do I know?

Name a few DJ’s/artists/collective/venues that you think should be on people’s radar?

I really dig the Århus guys – DJ/Sports, CK, Regelbau – and the NAFF/Priori etc. crew in Vancouver. I like how they effortlessly mix different genres, there’s an openness and free spirit kind of sensibility that informs their work, and it’s got this instantly likeable musicality to it. 

I’m also really into VC-118A, Kosh, Low Tape, Reedale Rise and Nullptr, really good electro. The Tim Jackiw and Lost Trax records never disappoint. Derek Carr and John Shima. Donato Dozzy. There’s so much stuff. 

The best DJ I’ve heard the last few years is Vivian Koch. She’s released a couple of records too, they’re really good. “When Will We Meet Again” was one of the best tunes of 2019.

As for venues, I have to mention Kafé Hærverk in Oslo. I’m biased though, as I’ve played there loads. We’ve had some great nights there. Scan 7, that was wild. Your fellow countrymen Morphology played there twice, they’re just ace. And Mike Huckaby. It’s so fucked up that we lost him. I can’t believe it, he played here just 18 months ago.

Abroad, definitely Pickle Factory in London and Paloma Bar in Berlin. I hope they make it through this.

What’s currently on your rotation? Like right now.


Origin – “Hard Impact”. One of Like A Tim’s first releases. 


Before that it was an old Belgian record – “Two Thumbs” by Bhab & Cas on Mikki House. 


Before that, Snorre Magnar Solberg’s new album which is pretty abstract ambient stuff.

Do you have a comfort record, one you can put on that makes you feel good no matter what?

“Polar Station” by Space Cube and “Star Sailing” by Galaxy 2 Galaxy. There are plenty of others but those are the ones that spring to mind just now.



So the mix, "Splendid Isolation", can you tell us a little something about that? 

I recorded it just a few days after we went into lockdown. I read an interview the other day with Norwegian hip hop artist Ivan Ave, where he said that the first few weeks of lockdown were pretty tough as his mindstate changed constantly, from inspired to depressed, because this whole situation we’re in is so new and incomparable to anything else we’ve experienced before. That really struck a chord with me, because I’d been feeling exactly the same way, and listening to this mix now I think it’s pretty much sums up the emotional rollercoaster I experienced during that period

Some of the tracks are very melancholic and introvert and others are more optimistic and life-affirming. So the mix is basically a testament to how I was feeling at that particular point in time, veering from dark and introspective segments to really perky and upbeat stuff. I like that. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Many thanks again Orjan!

It was a pleasure!

playlist

01 - Yennek - Without (Acappella) (Distance)
02 - C-Beams - One (Smallville)
03 - Mick Welch - Conscious Field (Altered Moods)
04 - Cai Bojsen-Møller - Oshi Dashi (Multtiplex)
05 - Matti Turunen - Stars (Muhk)
06 - Jump Source - Radiant Shift (Jump Source)
07 - Oval Emotion ‎- Do It (Trance Dub) (Hi-Bias)
08 - How II House - Unlock The House (Maddhouse Mix) (Outer Rhythm)
09 - Snuff Crew ‎- Winter In June (Snuff Trax)
10 - Andreas Gehm - My Mind Is Going (I Can Feel It) (Chiwax)
11 - Tim Jackiw - Half Moon (Offworld)
12 - Quince & Benny Rodrigues - Sweet Potatoes (Smallville)
13 - Wilma - S.o.b. (C.K's 8000 Mix) (Multiplex)
14 - House Of 909 - Love Of God (Future Soul Orchestra Remix) (Pagan)
15 - Janeret - Equinoxe (La Chinerie)
16 - Elias - Explain (Driftfwood)
17 - Carl A. Finlow - Anomaly (Device)

DJ profile
kompressorkanonen

Location: Oslo, Norway
Discogs | Soundcloud

Electronic music head, vinyl junkie and DJ from Oslo. 
One half of K³ with Joachim Krüger.

Collecting is creepy. Record collectors put each other down for their various fixations. Everybody is convinced that his way of collecting is superior. They look down on casual collectors, who are just accumulators - the kind who'll just pick up anything and let it pile up. - Robert Crumb

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