Norwegian artist Center of the Universe aka Jørgen Skjulstads has been on the Generation Bass radar for a few years now. Center of the Universe 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.
For Generation Bass he has dropped this free Arabic Skweee/Oriental Dub/Greek/Turkish EP which he calls “Never mind the böreks”. This EP consists of 4 tracks.
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Following our short preface, C.O.U. tells us about the tracks in his own words:
1. Sigara Böreği
This track has a very Kraftwerk vibe about it in terms of tempo and melody.
“This started out as a remix for Oslo avant-rockers Moon Relay. First I sang upon their guitars and added a lot of instruments for their remix. Then I wanted to do a break-dance-version of that remix and in the process everything except some ring modulated synths and the beat was gone out in favour of some more oriental vibes. The track is heavily inspired by Swedish Skweee-pioneer and Dj Daniel Savio.”
2. Black Feta
This is an epic track and we love the way that it builds up to that nastier wobble section. It’s got an air of Oum Kalthoum about it, that epic, lengthy, big Egyptian sound.
“A few years ago I made a bootleg of the Bendaly family “Do you love me?” I wanted to do a similar track but without sampling someone. For this I recorded some oud, some synths and a cimbalon and tried to edit them into an oriental dub-mix.”
3. Songs of Today
At first, we thought this was a Balkan track, Serbian or Bosnian, surprised when we found it was Greek. It’s got a Trap vibe about it and is a great opener for a DJ set. Sounds like a contemporary urban version of a track from a good time musical soundtrack.
“This song started with a sample from a Greek old record bought at a flea-marked. There are only Greek letters on it except of the title “Songs of today” I got a Greek friend to translate the words and it is a nice love song.
Chorus goes like: (get out my delalis* and agas** in
sejiani***) * Turkish word for the man that used to shout the news on the streets ** Turkish word for the prince *** serjiani = relaxing by looking at the horizon without doing anything.
Pretty lyrical innit!”
4. The Power of Börek
This reminds us 50 Cent. A very melodic track with an awesome DnB section.
“This song is named after a home-made semi-modular synth called the Börek energy, which provides the bass-line for the track. It is homage to US producer Lazercrotch that made a lot of nice music a bit similar to this”.
5. Sigara Böreği (Streamer’s Late Night Take-Away Remix)
A bonus remix by our friend Streamer (“Walking with Camels” EP on GB) takes C.O.U. into 90’s Madchester territory with a bumpy, groovy ‘twistin’ my melons man’ mood!
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 entices 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.