Various Artists – Svek: Defender

Various Artists
Svek: Defender

Sweden, for some reason, has a bad reputation. More known for its kitsch and camp than its quality, its top exports remain Eurovision-style pulp-pop such as Roxette and Abba. Hardcore outfit the Hellacopters have been gradually revealing what the nordic regions are hiding, and Svek, established by Manuel Perez and Stephen Greider, are working hard on the electronica side of things, techno blips and pulses beaming out with a vengeance.
It all starts off with the decidedly non-Scandinavian sounding “Ritmo” by Chris J. A mid-tempo beat is joined by gradual layers of audio paint – here an uprising keyboard, there a stream of strings. It’s all processed through the synthesizer of course, and you’re never quite sure where it’s going, the ambient spaces are left wide open which, to my ears, is a bonus. Sunday Brunch, the duo of Jesper Dahlback and Seba, make two appearances here with “Humla” and “No Resistance.” The first is a bouncy dalliance, with dripping water, computer game gun noises, and Aphex Twin-like surprises, and the latter has a heavier, more processed feel to it and lyrics that fade in and out with the uplifting message of “Show me no resistance and I’ll show you more love.” Jesper Dahlback, in his various disguises including The Persuader and Brommage Dub, appears on seven of the 12 tracks. A better reviewer would be able to tell you the difference between the styles he displays here, which apparently all add up to make “deep liquid house,” but I’ll stick to what I know and say it makes intriguing chill out and get-up-and go music.
That description can probably serve well for the rest of this compilation, which includes “Scuba” from 26 year old Joel Mull and the spooky-house “Mer” by Forme. Confining electronica/techno music to a home stereo often detracts from the music itself, intended for a dance-floor audience in various states of mind and undress. Here, however, the honchos of Svek have given us a “taster-bag” – something that will indeed hook you if you like it. For those curious about where contemporary electronica is heading, this Swedish sampler might be what you’re looking for.