Prins Thomas

Prins Thomas, Vol. 5

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Norwegian space disco producer Prins Thomas describes his fifth proper solo full-length as a "freedom album." It's the first release on his eponymous label, and it steps away from the ambitious concepts of his two-CD epic Principe del Norte or his revision of Swedish psych group Dungen's album Häxan. Instead, it's just a selection of 11 simmering dance tracks recorded after Principe del Norte, often created either while on tour or stuck in bed after coming down with bronchitis. Thomas just lets loose and does what he does best here, crafting steady house tracks with percolating rhythms and atmospheric guitars -- never overdone, but never too stripped-down, either. It's far more energetic and fun than Square One, his underwhelming collaboration with Bjørn Torske, which was recorded around the same time. Opening track "Here Comes the Band" is easily the sunniest, most feel-good cut here, with a bit of Northern Soul bounce to its beat and a wash of fuzzy guitars at the end; surprisingly enough, Thomas says the track was inspired by Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque. Tracks like "Villajoyosa" and "Ø" are winning combinations of Italo-disco basslines and loose, swaying dream pop guitars. "Bronchi Beat" (A+ on the track title) and the acid-laced "Æ" feature minimal click-house beats, but the swelling synths and general sense of boundless creativity ensure that the tracks sound much more unrestrained and joyous than the work of the average faceless microhouse producer. Even though some of the tracks are a bit slower and obviously produced while Thomas was ill and bed-ridden, they don't seem too sluggish or lazy for their own good. An easy success.

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