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Standing On Top of Utopia

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Album Review

Kasper Bjørke's lengthy career through 2010 had only produced one full-length album by that point, but his second proved to be something spectacular. Perhaps the strongest full-length electronic release from Denmark since Trentemøller's The Last Resort, Standing on Top of Utopia found the DJ/producer creating not merely a solid album but a strong and surprising one. If anything, it had the sense of being the equivalent to the Lindstrøm/Prins Thomas and fellow travelers empire — only instead of "beardo disco" imagining a never-never world of space rock/disco Ibiza, Bjørke looked instead to a wired, early electro-disco that was far more Gina X than Italo disco. Steady, cold beats that often felt like carefully restrained energy from a greater source — best heard on "Melmac," taking now well-established glitch elements and matching them to a thrilling, strong rhythm — were still shot through with a gentle calm that didn't suggest the depths so much as easily gliding through them with a calm, upbeat grace. The light synth melody on the opening "Animals," the chilled tropicalia of "Heaven," and the closing mood-out of "Fasano" all bear testimony to how well Bjørke works this balance, though the absolute winner may be "Dasko Vanitas," a tense punch of a song that never fully lets go of somehow being a classic instrumental dance effort for a moody time. The inclusion of vocals at various points from fellow Danes like Louise Foo and Tomas Höffding — as well as Jacob Bellens, whose tour de force portrayal of a slick character served as the leadoff single — adds to the rich variety throughout a remarkable album.


Born: Copenhagen, Denmark

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Danish electronic musician Kasper Bjørke first came to prominence in the late '90s as one half of the disco house duo Filur. Throughout the following decade, he and collaborator Tomas Barfod recorded four albums and numerous hit singles which often featured guest vocalists from throughout the European dance and pop scenes. Beginning in 2007, he began releasing music under his own name, though his partnership with Barfod would continue both with Filur and their DJ/Party side project Superbacon. His...
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Standing On Top of Utopia, Kasper Bjørke
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