- Wed, 2012-12-12 20:11
The plane. Oslo. The HTC One X+. Pictures taken from a video I made (the phone lets you snap pics while you film, which is cool).
If you're a keen eyed I Like Music reader you might have seen that this summer I took a shiny new HTC One S to a bunch of festivals. They asked if I was up for showing you what the camera was like. I said I was, so they gave me a phone and I produced a series of visually compelling features upon my (slightly hazy) return from Secret Garden Party, WOMAD, Boomtown and Bestival.
I know exactly what you're thinking: PHONE BLAGGER. Well, initially I sort of thought that too. Turns out, six months later, I still haven't swapped my sim card back into my iPhone. Honestly.
Anyway. Seems HTC liked the festival features too. In November they sent me an email asking if I would like to discover the music scene in Oslo. I said yes and a few days later I was on a plane to Norway (it really did happen that quickly).
I arrived. Met up with a small bunch of music writers from around Europe, picked up a brand new HTC One X+, then layered up in warm garms and embarked on a day long Oslo expedition, aka the HTC Oslo Audio Tour.
Rolo Tomassi by the side of the road. What a tour bus.
Rolling out of bed to rap for a bunch of journalists may not be the most compelling activity for most aspiring young hip hop crews, but that's exactly where we found ourselves first thing. In the basement of The Xpress Comfort Hotel (which houses its own record store, radio station and AC/DC pinball machine). Local music champion and mentor Trude introduced 17 year old Cezinando and Phats the Physician, who went on to drop some rhymes (in Norwegian) over a bunch of thick cut, old school boom-bap beats. Signed to independent label Iron Chef Agency, I cornered Ali Riza after the show and convinced him to throw down a little freestyle...
From one extreme to the other, a tour of the beautiful Oslo Opera House was followed by a visit to the dingy back room of Café Mono. Staffed by musos, the local band focused venue was transformed into an audio-visual sensory overload by the arrival of the Oslo Mobile Orchestra. Each brandishing an HTC phone and portable speaker, the student / teacher formed collective created layers of electronic sound as their devices responded to motion or light.
To call their light-saber-battle-meets-car-alarm-meets-robotic-siren-malfunction "music" would be a little too forgiving (and you know how much I love Planet Mu / Warp Records freak melts). What was interesting was the concept of future music interaction becoming more individual and more personal than I had ever considered. The idea that instead of just changing tracks to suit our mood, we'll have the option to change the composition of the track itself, something Orchestra member Dositheos Rivocantus explained to me following a demonstration of the apps they were using and the sounds they can create:
*One of their apps is available to download on Android: Melodrone
Snuck off to find a record shop and took this FLY panoramic shot...
The Råkk and Rålls record shop wasn't actually on our itinerary. Instead of filling the gap before dinner with a nap or a wash, I snuck off to find the nearest indie record shop and was far from disappointed. The fact that the top floor was a health and safety hazard strewn with old bits of wood, countless records, boxes, leads, speakers and a Dizzee Rascal LP lying on top of an old cupboard only added to the charm. Three floors of CDs, records, t-shirts, photos, memorabilia, piles and piles of music magazines and Guy Clark - Texas 1947 playing on the stereo, I wandered round in a bit of a daze...
What would a music tour be if we didn't all end up in da club? Blaring house music, the small basement of Oslo's Jaeger Club filled up surprisingly quickly for a Wednesday night. I spent most of my time propping up the bar with the club's promoter Kaman Leung talking about hip hop. Turned out he'd worked with DJ Krush. I asked him if he'd heard Kikkake (such a tune - we got it played on the Radio 1 Review show this year, BAM) he said yes, ran off, then came back and gave me a copy of his album Lacrimal. Apparently it was one of the last copies he had left. Maybe they all say that... I also bumped into Ali Riza who I'd coaxed into a freestyle corner that morning. In a similar vein, I tempted him into a group photo opportunity - look how much fun we're having!
The result of all that fun was a slightly challenging journey home the next morning. Our hotel, the Grims Grenka, had free Nespresso machines in the foyer (which I took a little too much advantage of). Still, my wide-eyed taxi journey to the airport gave me a chance to reflect on everything we'd managed to fit in while we were there. I wouldn't say I'd truly unearthed the "sound of Oslo" but hopefully, if you find yourself there any time soon, this feature will point you in the right direction. Even if that is just towards Råkk and Rålls.
All the pics and videos in this feature were taken with the HTC One X+ (of course...)
Let's talk about music on Twitter Kim x