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GusGus
This Is Normal
(4AD/Warner Bros.)
by Sarah Zupko
PopMatters Editor & Publisher


tenorjimi-gusgus.jpg


If you really thought disco was dead, think again. The Nordic climes have seemingly warmed to this most uncool genre, while updating the 70s sound with equal dashes of Euro pop and house.


Jimi Tenor has been described as the Finnish Barry White, which isn’t really far off, but he’s a top-notch producer as well. Already celebrated in the U.K. for his critically-acclaimed 1997 debut Intervision, Organism is Tenor’s first stateside release. Cooking up a sultry stew of disco, funk, and modern dance, including drum ‘n’ bass, is his specialty. But even that isn’t enough to satisfy him, as he ventures into gospel and choral music with the able assistance of a 60 piece Finnish choral group. With its many different threads and influences, including the Sun Ra-esque “Total Devastation,” Organism makes the case that Tenor is a truly international artist.


GusGus is less indebted to 70s funk than Tenor, but the Icelandic assemblage of DJs, programmers, vocalists, and visual artists share Tenor’s love of dance rhythms. Their sophomore effort, This Is Normal, sports deep house grooves spiked with Euro disco and is designed for the club dance floor. “Ladyshave” boasts a shuffling, hip-shaking rhythm reminiscent of the Stone Roses’ “Fools Gold,” while even the dreamy vocals of “Teenage Sensation” are underpinned by a slow-burning groove. Elsewhere, “Very Important People” blends a thumping synth dance beat with slinky, cool rhythms and jazzy keyboards.

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