Probably pining for the fjords
Tromso, Norway. 300km inside the Arctic Circle. Where the concepts of day and night are reconfigured, where you can savour the delights of whale sushi and where can you experience trippy sky borne visuals without the need for cheap drugs (I am of course referring to Aurora Borealis).
Yes, Tromso has it all. Including it seems a healthy appetite for electronic music. Meta-pop innovators Royksopp originated from here, as did ambient maestro Biosphere. But besides them, there's always been a continuous stream of producers that seem to take their cues from the stunning landscape that surrounds them and somehow channel it into their music.
'Insomnia' is the suitably apt name for the yearly festival that runs in the heart of Tromso. Its aim is to gather up these individuals for a structured showcase. As well as reaching out to an international audience seeking the thrill of the new. 2011 saw the 10th edition of this ever ambitious event. And I had the rare pleasure of leaving the cosy confines of North London to experience everything Tromso had to offer. We dubbed it "The northernmost collection of the northernmost things."
The festival itself was hella fun, from a spine tingling opening set from Biosphere who reworked tracks off his stunningly clinical 'N-Plants' album. To the most fun you can have with house music courtesy of DJs Pareja. Highlights also included cyclical euro-dance from Telephones, slick Swede pop from The Amplifetes and an improvised electronic jamboree from Mental Overdrive / Tim Exile / Boska.
So to Christian, an affable, jovial lanky sort who was omnipresent during my time at the festival. My friend Per told me he was from Tromso, someone else told me he made music and then during the middle of a particularly impressive set from Mesak, he thrust a record into my hands….
Under the deceptive pseudonym of 'Le Petit Garcon' - which suggests either awful Euro-house or some fey indie band - he easily produced the best ambient record I'd heard all year. "Traena" (his debut 12") is so good that it came backed with a remix by Biosphere, which I considered to be like some sort of seal of approval. He's working on his debut album as we speak but it sounds like he's in no rush. "I´m kinda recording the album, but it takes much time."
One of the reasons why he might be taking his time is that he's now taken over duties in running the 11th edition of Insomnia. Can't imagine the logistical nightmares of running such an undertaking, but he seems to be managing it in his stride. "For this edition of the festival we have focused on the Nordic scene of electronic music". He's got plenty to choose from and has plumped for electronic stalwarts Jimi Tenor and Jori Hulkkonen. who have made a new soundtrack to the Finnish documentary 'Sähkö - The Movie'.
Elsewhere the likes of Gus Gus, Emika, Portable, Thomas Knak (aka Opiate) and Alejandro Paz aim to show everyone how its done. And aforementioned local heroes Royksopp will be representin' via an exclusive DJ set. There's also a rich selection of new home-grown talent to discover.
Insomnia 2012 runs from the 25th - 27th October.