album

Kasper Bjørke / Puzzles

Kasper Bjørke - Puzzles

Just when you thought you had Kasper Bjørke figured out he comes back with another great musical surprise. His new album Puzzles, which will be released April 5th on hfn music, follows two recent collaborative EPs on Live at Robert Johnson and Mule Musiq as well as his second Kasper Bjørke Quartet neoclassical/ambient album Mother on Kompakt. 

Puzzles is Kasper’s love letter to the sound of early 2000s New York - merged with his Scandinavian sense of producing songs that goes beyond conventional club music; combining disco tinged instrumentations mixed with elements of 80s funk, jazz and contemporary pop songwriting, creating something familiar yet, something very fresh and innovative at the same time. The album includes collaborations with a wide range of musicians and vocalists. From California based indie-disco troubadour Woolfy (DFA, Rong, Permanent Vacation etc.) to the Icelandic dream-folk trio Systur aka Sísý Ey (who also featured on Kasper’s 2014 single Apart, where the Michael Mayer remix became a timeless club anthem), as well as other longtime collaborators and artist friends: Toby Ernest, Jacob Bellens, WhoMadeWho’s Tomas Høffding  on bass, Posh Isolation affiliate Frederik Valentin on guitar and
the young, rising jazz star Oilly Wallace on saxophone and flute.

Essentially, the majority of Puzzles is played and recorded live, including the drums by Rasmus Littauer (School of X, MØ). Many of the songs emerged from chord progressions written during studio sessions between Kasper and Toby - which Kasper then produced into a colourful and effective album, rooted in an expressive live feeling far from programmed patterns.  The first single to be released from the album, Conversations features Systur (Sísý Ey) on vocals and immediately grabs you with its slinky groove and gorgeous melody. Reminiscent of a great, lost Fleetwood Mac tune which will feel equally at home in your living room or on any discerning modern dancefloor. 

Tears We Haven’t Cried featuring Toby Ernest on vocals, gets under your skin in the best possible way. The subtle groove hooks you in and the emotion and beauty conveyed in the lyrics and melody keep you coming back to it again and again, discovering something more with each listen.  The song So Much, features Woolfy on vocals. Its simple yet seductive synth bassline, upfront and conversational lead vocal, along with gorgeous female backing vocals, makes it a crisp take on a Balearic beat classic. 

I Was There is the dance floor weapon of the album. Full of proper post-disco energy propelling the groove, bass, swirling synths, guitars and subtle percussion on top make this track simply irresistible. 

Another stand out track is the album’s opener, Corridor of Dreams - a cover version of a song by the revered cult indie project Cleaners From Venus, which sets the perfect tone for the rest of the album ahead. Thoughtful and never overplayed, every part, instrument and vocal (performed by Systur) feels necessary. The album also includes a second cover version, both of them coincidentally released in 1982 by British indie artists: The Psychedelic Furs‘ Love My Way featuring Jacob Bellens on vocals is a catchy reinvention that never strays too far from the infectious hooks of the original.  Puzzles is a new step for Kasper as a producer and artist, showcasing his ability to move and flow freely between genres and expressions, however still deeply rooted in his love and affection for the classic disco groove - which is only natural after more than two decades as an active DJ.  Kasper confided that this was the album he was most proud of and wished he had made 20 years ago but didn’t know how to at the time. Thankfully he honed his craft over the years and certainly figured it out and the result is simply stunning. 

Another piece has been added to the musical puzzle of Kasper Bjørke
 

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