I’ve been following the brilliant Norwegian artist Center of the Universe aka Jørgen Skjulstads for a few years now. This dude does a unique brand of quirky electronica that takes in all manner of things. His releases contain traditional songs remade alongside original compositions inspired by archaic entertainment consoles and pre-iPhone computer culture ranging from Azeri Skip, Post-Reggaeton, BalkanBit, Oriental Dub, Arabic Skweee, Balkan Skweee through to Post-Rembetika amongst many other things. A great mix and fusion of different types of Electronic music from Video Game Music, Chiptune, Skweee and Dub all inspired by different parts of the world too, including the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Scandanavia.
I was at first struck by his Arabic Skweee, Oriental Dub, BalkanBit and Balkan Skweee productions which got me straight away. He has an impressive track record going back 15 years.
He is due to drop his first EP on the Generation Bass Digital label very soon, it’s an EP I’ve been begging him to do for us for about 2 years now and trust me, it is worth waiting for.
So I thought it was time for us to introduce him and his wonderful creations to many of you who probably have never heard any of his material before.
Check out his stuff here including a playlist that I created especially to highlight some my favourite material from his soundcloud. A lot of his other great stuff is on his Bandcamp label Metronomicon Audio which he defines as “a small record label based in Oslo, Norway. Strictly speaking, it is not really a label, but rather a community with some 20 active members and a wide range of affiliates which together aim to promote new and interesting music.”
Inspired by folk music and rhythmic excesses from all over the world the Center of the Universe made his first recordings in 2000. The group, which admittedly is not a band, but rather Jørgen Skjulstads (Now we’ve got members, Salvatore) solo project, combines heavy bass, odd meters and various exotic elements with a lo-fi approach in his recording methods.
Center of the Universe has been active in the Norwegian underground music scene since 1998 and has in addition to participating in several other projects, found the time to release a whole host of solo albums, including a trilogy where the theme was space and time. It is difficult to give a clear definition of the band’s musical impression, as this tends to change from release to release, but it would not be wrong to say that melody is always at the center. What apparently may begin as a pop song entice you into a world where nothing is as it seems and musical expectations are seldom met. For the Center of the Universe no surna is too high and no bass too deep. He has always walked off the beaten path next to the road less travelled and keeps trudging on in a landscape where the sun shines, vulcanoes erupt and it’s raining guitars, sitars and just plain’ol tars.