Towards the very end of the last millennium a guy from Bergen Norway named Mikal Telle was hard at work compiling an album of his friends’ music. Released in 2000, TellÚ records’ “TellÚ compilation album” was to become one of the great milestones of contemporary Norwegian pop music. In fact ‘Norwegian’ is not the right epithet, for many of the artists on the album subsequently moved on to the international scene, and even stardom.
The milestone record initiated the so-called Bergen wave, arguably the most exiting and successful movement in recent Norwegian musical history, and TellÚ’s name was forever inscribed as one of the visionary forces behind it. The compilation album featured artists like R÷yksopp, Annie, Bj°rn Torske and Ralph Meyerz and the Jack Herren Band, all of which have enjoyed great success in the first decade of the 21st century. -None more so than R÷yksopp of course; the biggest Norwegian success in international music since A-ha. Annie moved on to become a kind of elusive queen of independent super-catchy electro pop, Bj°rn Torske is among the most respected of electronica weirdoes, and Ralph Myerz throw the best live show ever to come out of the north.
Another big success associated with TellÚ is Kings of Convenience. “It was all about a small network of friends,” says Telle, “and I took it upon myself to release and push their music. I never meant to create a label.” But that it nevertheless what happened, and what he created has been called “The best label in Norway”. However, due perhaps to his disregard for business, his creation went bankrupt in 2004 and since then the label has been in hiatus.
But now Telle has found the time ripe to resurrect it, and on the same basis as before. “It is still all about networks,” he relates in a recent interview. A little bit wiser in terms of contracts and rights, and now with an international network, the new TellÚ launches itself in characteristic anti-commercial style with four vinyl singles. The featured names are Rubies (UK), Matt & Kim (US), Familjen (Swe) and a remix of Real Ones’ “Outlaw” by Prince Thomas and Erol Alkan.
On the subject of a “TellÚ compilation album” part two, Mikal relates that he has contrived twenty or thirty such albums in his mind, but not yet come up with the perfect mix. For, “even though I’m no musician myself, a compilation album is my creation, and in that regard I’ve become something of a perfectionist” he explains.
So we’ll still have to wait, it seems, for the sequel to the milestone. And perhaps it is in recognition that one initiates a wave only once that the new TellÚ kicks off in low-key manner with four vinyls aimed at connoisseurs and his greater international network rather than the masses.
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