Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Scandinavian pop has been defined over the decades by sublimely sweet vocals and utterly inescapable melodies. Famed for inverting cutesy pop into something daring and unavoidable, the 21st Century saw a second wave of innovation led by Norwegian quirk-pop pioneer Annie (and artist who set the tone for a decade’s worth of post-plastic pop European females) and the irrepressibly daffy fembot Robyn. The northern nations have always been fond of dance too, with Rokysopp have proudly waving the flag, but in recent years, the Swedes in particular, have been casting their net further a field.
Johan Karlberg brought the sounds of Malawi to life as at part of The Very Best on the brilliant Warm Heart Of Africa, and Elliphant is pounding out her own take on the rhythm heavy assault of M.I.A and Major Lazer. Polyrhythms are a must as the tracks shake, shimmer and smash their way across the dancefloor. The sultry Swede Eli (we assume she in charge, but Elliphant are playing their cards so close to their chest it could well be two blokes behind a production desk for all we know) has concocted a sound that feels equal parts West Indian, African and Sub-Continental. Of course, the sound has such a rapacious multicultural flavour that it could belong to the bustling streets London just as easily as it could anyone one exotic continent.
On the brilliant “Tekko Scene” electro teardrops dive and receded over a grind friendly riddim. Elliphant (presumably) blurts the usual array of incendiary sounding filler phrases designed to give great swathes of people something to fist pump and shout along to (don’t expect M.I.A’s social conscious). “In The Jungle” is more to the point, a simple patois verse about not going back to basic accompanies another tribal rhythm and some proto-Daft Punk electronics that are more than a little reminiscent of the Chemical Brothers. Whether, Elliphant can trouble M.I.A., Diplo and Santigold in the fusion club sound department remains to be seen, but she/they’ve made a promising start.
The Buzz: The multi-cultural sound of M.I.A.’s World Town exudes from Sweden.
For Fans Of: Diplo, M.I.A., Santigold, Major Lazer, and The Very Best.