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Forte - Intermissions (Øen Rec, 2019)

Jazzy deep hazes from one of Denmark's up and coming producers.

The Denmark scene has produced some real interesting dance music over the last few years. From the boys at Regelbau and Help Recordings and beyond, a flourishing scene has given way to some top draw productions, and a strong and daring sound to boot. Like with Canada's scene, there is a strong vein linking the sounds together, always dripping in rich synths, dipping between the beauty to the dancy, from the jaw dropping to the knee bending, it never ceases to amaze and delight. Øen Rec are known for their contemplative and considered approach to the softer side of dance music, and have produced some real stunners over the years (check Fruit's 'Island Tape' record from last year, as a starting point). So, with each release, you know the vibe, you know the drill. But they might still surprise you yet.

Forte had already shown his credentials on the Øen Rec label with his 2017 'Away' EP, a compelling and musically diverse record that show cased his talents to a wider audience. Listeners had already gotten a taste for an extended record with his 2016 'Techne', which showcases his ability for the most atmospheric of jams yet the most uplifting dance tunes. Here, on his latest release, we once again are exposed to an amazingly talented producer with magic coming out his finger tips. So let the delight begin!

The album starts off with ' Stealing Symmetry', deep and long chords drawn out over a hazy beat. Larry Heard esq chords chime away, giving real depth, and subtle changes to the drum patterns keep the song drifting forward. with no need to kick up the tempo, the song floats along beautifully, reverberating around impeccably, a quiet force of nature. The way in which is chimes and swirls is so pleasurable to the ears, a real close your eyes and forget your worries sort of tune. 'Drifter' comes in next, and keeps the feel of the previous tune. Choppy stabs slap in over a quiet guitar line, and its quiet elegance lasts all of a minute and a half. A perfect interlude. Up next comes 'Keyboard Musik', a jamming jazzy number with lovingly prepared synth lines. Revolving around a synth line that never goes out of fashion, the drumming patterns here make the tune all that more mesmerising. Cymbals, kicks and toms in harmony, always striving for more in this hazy and somewhat chaotic soundscape Forte has created for the listener. 'Sleepwalk' comes up next, and is yet another exercise in synthesiser trickery. Deep, bold and chimey, with undertones of Detroit Techno but without the beats, with an almost space age vibe that growls intensely. It holds its own, it could go on for even longer. 'Kind Eyes' pops up next, and seems to have accumulated all of the previous vibes into one. Slower and more dreamy, it starts off with light rhythms and subtle keys, with a three chord progression popping up now and again. Then, a fantastic drum pattern kicks in, driving the song forward into a blissed out cloud like state. Here is where the money is, showing both sides to the album, downtempo yet pulsating.

'Hundred and Ten Jams' comes up next, and repeats the pattern of a short interlude preceding and introducing a longer tune. Another experimental excursion into the void of bliss, again with hypnotic vibes leading the tune along. It always feel like hard techno drums are gunna kick in, but these wee tunes provide a perfect transition between the various longer tunes on the record. 'FDINS' follows, and appears to be the fullest 'dance' track on the album. A beautiful synth line drives along constantly, with a near 2 step drum rthymn providing a base for blissed out electronica to unfurl. Cymbals join the party, and its just so damn good. So so damn good. 'Travelling' comes in next, again displaying another excursion. Chilled and blissed, beatless goodness comes once again in a short less than 2 minute period. 'Flip' powers through next, and has a sort of garage vibe to it on the beat. On top, synth flavours evolve and envelop in equal measure, a real beauty, constantly changing up to keep the listener on their toes. A real liquid feel to it, like flowing water, and it feels like it was recorded to be appreciated whilst in the pool. Little keys and synths complete a package of what might be the standout tune on the record, but thats a hard one to judge, given all the moods on display here. 'Tik Tik' comes next, and features more percussion than his previous interludes, but perhaps contains the most interesting elements of any of them. Rave stabs, chiming feels, a real flash of energy that grabs you by the head and shakes you gently. Finally, to end off the most emotive of journeys, comes 'Breathe' (remember to breathe). This is a real stunner, pulsating drums, pitched up to give them real depth, glide alongside deep pads and emotive chord play. All the elements play around with each other so gracefully, never one moving too far from the other, all working as one but doing a little bit to be noticed. It is a fitting end to an album full of sounds, intrigue and wonder.

Woah. Forte really did a number on the old blending front. The idea of interludes followed by longer tunes is a great one, with a constant flow joining them all together. Like a small series of stories, Forte has created one of the most organic and original pieces of music to come out this year so far. An absolutely stunning album, and for debut records? has to be up there with the very best of this year. For sure. Tres Forte, Forte!

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