Feat. Remington Super 60
Gull i april
Watch Snowfall Sitting Warm
Zebra Knights - Safariari (2002)
More half-build igloo than crazy disko
Igloodisko is a fun-factored party, but half-way through you might find yourself chatting by the bar.
Behind Safariari hides Jon Kristian Furuheim from Sarpsborg, the man who released his debut Save New York on September 10. 2001, only to have it pulled from the market the day after. Circumstances considered, the cover rather unsuitably depicted the New York skyline. The cause of withdrawal was of course a tragedy, but for Safariari the event undoubtedly did its bit for publicity, and has become an anecdote to be remembered by. When the album was finally re-released in a renamed and redesigned version, Safariari's playful electronica was welcomed with rave reviews. As was Zebra Knights' follow-up Goa Way in 2004 – a funfair-factored pop album in electronica disguise.
Japan holds a special place in Furuheim's heart. Not only did he live there for a brief period, Igloodisko is partly recorded in Tokyo, and affections for the East Asian island sneak into the album in different shapes and forms. Influences from Japanese electronic acts such as Yellow Magic Orchestra and Cornelius are strongly audible – Watch Snowfall Sitting Warm sounds like a shy ode to the latter. Igloodisko has a cartoonish playfulness to it, and arpeggioed synths and melodies jump around with the same lightness as a sushi luncheon. But to complete the analogy – Igloodisko lacks the efficiency, cutting-edge and innovation that trademarks the Japanese.
Igloodisko's casio-pop foundation mixed with Italo-disco and French house is a delicate blend, of which the album highlights Just UFOs and Feat. Remington Super 60 are good examples. Considering the vocal-heavy Goa Way one might have expected Igloodisko to continue down the same slope, but Furuheim's third release is a celebration of the synth. Norway's uncrowned king of disco, Lindstrøm, has more than once proved that synth-based music doesn't need vocals to keep interest-levels up. His well-crafted synth epic Where You Go I Go Too from 2008 pushed boundaries, the title cut lasting for almost 30 minutes.
In comparison Igloodisko barely skims the surface of its own compositions. Most tracks are built around one idea. This works when ideas are strong, but when they're not, tracks need added oomph to remain interesting. Furuheim plays it safe and refrains from expanding on and developing his core ideas to any mentionable degree. He occasionally pokes around – melodies oscillating between the tonal and atonal add a welcome spice to the mix – but he quickly withdraws, as if afraid things would get out of hand if he went for an attack. Most tracks start off with good intentions, but Furuheim loses his fuel halfway through, and the understated and DIY production does little to keep him afloat.
Igloodisko doesn't demand much, but doesn't provide very much either. And despite feel-good qualities, the album's 45 minutes seem a lot longer.