En Fin Tid

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Joakim Dyrdahl's second full-length outing as diskJokke occupies the same realm of tunefully grooving, slightly spacy electro-disco as his eminently likable debut, terrain that finds the good-natured Norwegian in fine company with his countrymen Hans-Peter Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas. While Staying In collected tracks from a span of several years, En Fin Tid was conceived as a complete piece. Its title, which translates to "A Happy Time," describes the period surrounding its creation, during which Dyrdahl became a father and decided to focus on music as a full-time pursuit. The happy times in store for diskJokke's listeners, musically speaking, are hardly a new development, but there is a definite shift here from the playfully giddy and sometimes goofy excursions of his debut to a calmer, more patient sense of contentment, reflected in significantly longer tracks (extending well beyond six minutes is now the norm rather than the exception) typically featuring fewer ideas that are allowed to germinate, percolate, and crystallize over lavish spans. The album indeed works well as a gently, gradually arcing whole, building to a frisky kinetic peak between a pair of indulgently languorous poles. While every track is to some extent undergirded by a sturdy 4/4 beat (real or implied), there's a vast range between the yawning opener "Reset and Begin" -- whose hazily meandering synths and dubby, inconclusive dribble of percussion, vaguely tethered to an intermittent bass thump, barely manage to fulfill the second half of its titular précis -- and strictly physical workouts like "Big Flash" and the deliciously funky "1987," both of which lock down their insistent, unswerving, bassy grooves and require little else beyond some decorative keyboard fluffery. Dyrdahl finds a happy middle ground on the slow to unfurl "Rosenrød," which punctuates its propulsive, pulsating acid squelch with moments of blissed-out expansiveness, and the darker-tilting "The Bund," with its slo-mo disco murk and fuzzed-out 303 riffs. But despite the considerable spectrum of energy levels, these tracks all share a sense of casual, inquisitive exploration, inviting a similarly curious investigation of whatever response seems appropriate -- dancing or daydreaming or some combination thereof -- without necessarily demanding much focus on the gentle twists and turns. Even on the seemingly more involved journeys -- the title track's Lindstrøm-esque harmonic peregrinations, for instance -- we're welcomed to gaze off into the distance from the passenger's seat, assured of diskJokke's firm, friendly hand behind the wheel.

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