[28 April 2008]
Although the tracks on Staying In are backed by clearly upbeat dancefloor tempos, Norway’s 28 year-old producer/DJ Diskjokke purposely rounded these down for his debut, so that each entry, toeing the line between home listening and set-friendly, clocks in under seven minutes, and most under five. Born Joachim Dyrdahl, the classically trained violinist has held down a DJ residency at the well-attended Sunkissed club night in Oslo, Norway for years (his entry on 2007’s compilation of the same name, “Cold Out”, appears on Staying In), while issuing 12"s on Get Physical’s Kindish and Prins Thomas’s Full Pupp labels. He has also established himself as a brilliant remix artist. Drydahl’s 10-minute re-work of Bloc Party’s tense “Sunday” is nothing short of epic in its grandeur—sweeping synths christen a vast trance segment toward the end, leaving only fragments, and then the complete, original chorus in its buzzing wake.
Dyrdahl’s efforts on Staying In find disco, house, and techno beats mingling with textured, digestible melodies and intricately woven atmospherics. “Cold Out” might have been one of the strongest cuts on Sunkissed, but it’s in competitive company here. The sparkling album’s title track, following the rather obviously classical-influenced opener “Folk I Farta”, lifts off with what’s bound to be likened to Nintendo music. “Staying In” boasts a timely pop song-styled adjournment at 3:54, but by then, Drydahl has allowed for salsa percussion, trumpets, and goddamned galloping horse sounds to liven up its crystalline vibes-laden base.
A frequently occurring array of echo-rich lines on Staying In‘s “Interpolation” comes off a bit like Pantha du Prince’s “Eisbaden”, from 2006’s This Bliss. Again, there is the tendency to call this a “weekend track”, and to brand it with the kind of logic that defines your playlists for get-togethers, but “Interpolation” gradually shifts on its oft-repeated spiraling theme, into sections that might not garner the listen they deserve amid houseguests and loads of booze. Broad synth washes lurk in the background and don’t commence until “Interpolation’s” two-minute mark. They would indeed go unnoticed during idle conversation, doing your friends a memorable injustice.
Drydahl plotted unpredictable courses for the bulk of Staying In, whether it was leaning heavily on disco and then allowing for skyward progressions to move in (“Flott Flyt”), or introducing new ideas seemingly with each stroke. The strongest example of the latter is in a slower-churning number that falls late in the track list. “The Dinner That Never Happened” is comparatively grim, as if its moody new-wave synth washes, air bursts, and intermittent chimes are relaying regret for a missed appointment. There is some unwelcome news, however, in a recent confession from Drydahl about his DJ sets. He’s playing out a lot, but he’s not showcasing any of his album. Nay, he says the Staying In material is being left where it’s enjoyed best—back at home.