Review and interview: Magnus International – Echo to Echo (Full Pupp)

Review and interview: Magnus International – Echo to Echo (Full Pupp)
Magnus Internationals new album ‘Echo To Echo’ comes as a welcome surprise as the Norwegian producer is known as a rather modest publisher who since 2006 put out only three records. These rare releases are high quality stuff, so one’s quite curious what this unexpected album is about: Did Magnus save it all these years for this record? Or is it just a bunch of old and new tracks thrown together? The album is released on Full Pupp (as all Magnus International stuff is), a label with usually exquisite taste and intuition especially for long plays, so there’s a strong suspicion that it isn’t a rush job, but you never ever know, so let’s have a look: ‘Big Red’, the first track on ‘Echo To Echo’, is a brilliant starter, letting a slightly emerging mid tempo groove plus an infectious street funk bass flow together with some screaming bleepy noises from the Warp universe of Tricky Disco or LFOs “Frequencies”. This kind of mixture characterizes Magnus Internationals work quite well and the way these elements interlock and amalgamate into one piece naturally is amazing. The space-synth-laden big city shuffle of ‘Metroid Boogie’ or the sharply grooving and still smoothly floating ‘Energi’ work in a similar way, transporting light and easiness as well as a certain subtle roughness. And it’s quite stunning that on first listen you might think of tracks like ‘Synths Of Jupiter’ and ‘A Man Called Anthony’ as even a little cheesy but then you get the acid, mercurial undertone and you learn that under this groovy and a little nerdy spacy disco sound some different moods bubble. Some tracks are quite short, more sketches than songs (such as the lovely glittering title track), working as sticky ends and obviously resulting from Magnus’ playful approach on sounds and machines. Of course there are also vocoder voices (‘Rise Above’) onboard, sometimes even echoes of the adventurous sounds of German libertines as Harmonia waft around. All in all it’s not farfetched to label ‘Echo To Echo’ as Nu-Disco but, well, only just. So in the end we got a record that has it’s happy-go-lucky-moments but primarily is a hybrid of lush discoid feelings and a klonky Aphex Twin-factor that prevents it from getting too easy going. Magnus International travels the past of electronic (dance) music and different eras of clubbing but thankfully doesn’t get too nostalgic about it, his works’ both vision and execution are as modern as they are timeless. All questions answered: ‘Echo To Echo’ is highly recommendable! Music for music lovers. Written by João Geck Interview with Magnus International talking about the production of his new album and more. Questions by João Geck. Q: Magnus, your new (and first ever) album „Echo To Echo” is quite an epic thing. Did you have some kind of masterplan for it? A: Thanks. As the album started to take form I wanted to make an album that would have a time-less feel to it. I was listening to a lot of old techno and house under the making of the album and wanted to get that electronic dance music album feel to the album. Q: "Echo To Echo" deals with reminiscences of electronic music from different ages, as there are synths and discoid grooves as well as sharper, more acidic sounds. Regarding your work, is the Zeitgeist something of importance to you? A: Ah, cool that you guys noticed! As a music connoisseur it is hard not to be inspired by all types of music for all the ages. In the last years I have gone more back to older records. Oslo got an reputation discoid sounding music but in my view the music is strongly connected by history. Zeitgeist is btw my favorite German word, we do not have a good word for it in Norwegian so I use it often in my daily life. Q: From the outside Full Pupp looks like the perfect label for you. Would you agree? Yes, I met with Prins Thomas many moons ago. We often talked about doing an album and now it felt like the time was right. I know the whole gang personally from former artist like Todd Terje to up and coming acts like Chmmr and Øyvind Morken. So we should plan a Full Pupp summer party. Q: There’s so much good and interesting (not only electronic but also pop and jazz and all that) stuff coming from not-so-big Norway. I'm not the first one to recognize and it’s maybe a bit of a cliché-question but what’s your explanation for that? It’s too cold up here to be outside in the winter. So you have to have something to do :). But on a more serious note, the underground music movement in Norway has always had a DIY attitude. Its almost punk in a sense: " That looks fun. If he/she can do it so can I, lets give it a go" attitude. Q: “Echo To Echo” sounds like you're also interested in the tech aspect of producing music. Do you have a nerdy side? And, nerd or not, how was your album produced? I love to nerd about production to anyone that wants to listen there are not that many :(. The album was foremost made in my old studio with tracks that I had worked on from home. Ironical-ly I’m sitting there with a lot of super fat old analog gear that did not get used. There is some Roland 106 and ARP Odyssey and some Roland TR-8 but i hope to use more outboards next time. Q: And finally, what's your opinion about gin: the perfect alcohol or overrated? A: Ah, the old pro and con question about gin. I have to confess that i have not gotten to much into gin but i promise you I will buy a bottle tonight and give you my thoughts tomorrow. Thanks a lot and good luck with the bottle.   You can BUY Magnus International - Echo To Echo, released on Full Pupp HERE from whatpeopleplay.com.

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