Over the last four years, Norwegian electronica outfit Bermuda Triangle has firmly established itself as one of the strongest live-collectives on the Scandinavian club scene. The vibrant outfit’s performances are a far cry from the faceless and introvert knob-twiddling practiced by other acts in the genre. The backbone of the unit is noted producer and composer Jan Tore Diesen and one of Norway’s most respected female DJs, Ariane. The live-version of Bermuda Triangle is augmented with bass, drums, percussion and, most notably, the strong vocal performances of Alex Møklebust (of Seigmenn/Zeromancer fame) and Animal Alpha’s Agnete Kjølsrud – giving the ensemble a line up that’s as strong as anything out there.
Says Bermuda Triangle’s Jan Tore Diesen: ‘Bermuda Triangle started out in 2002 when I got together with DJs Ariane and Nils Noa to do some production work for a release they were going to put out on (Norwegian indie label) Planet Noise. We worked together so well that we eventually ended up as a real band.’
Nils Noa has left Bermuda Triangle last sprint to pursue a career as a highly sought after DJ on the international club circuit.
‘We released our first 12” ‘Mooger Fooger’ in 2001 and things really started to develop from there’ says Diesen. ‘Mooger Fooger’ was picked up by several cred DJs including John Digweed, it found its way to lots of compilations put out by labels such as Hed Kandi. The 12” really generated quite a buzz and pawed the way for our debut album, also titled ‘Mooger Fooger’, which saw its release in October 2003. The album has been really well received, both at home and abroad’ says the respected producer.
Storming the Greek charts
One of the territories abroad that opened its borders for the Norwegian electronica combo was Greece. The nation that has embraced Norwegian melancholic rock acts such as Madrugada, took a liking to the club ambassadors of the North with healthy sales, heavy airplay and vast live audiences as a much welcomed consequence. ‘Our first trip to Greece was pretty absurd’ says Jan Tore. We played for 6000 strong audiences of mad Greeks with Scissor Sisters as co-headliners, did lost of media, played at prime-time TV shows, countless radio shows and generally had a great time.’
The notoriously protectionist UK market has also opened up to the sounds of Bermuda Triangle. Tracks by the band are featured on a number of compilations, the vinyl releases are frequently played by high profile DJs and a convincing performance at last year’s In The City trade fair and showcase festival established the collective as a live favourite for many attendees.
In addition to the Greek and UK markets, Bermuda Triangle has managed to establish loyal followings in such faraway destinations as South Africa and Australia. The German market is also opening up as witnessed by an extensive publishing deal for the territory signed last year.
Bermuda Triangle’s upcoming album features a new member to the team, vocalist Alex Møklebust, well-known in Norway as front-man of 90s rock/goth mastodon Seigmenn and for the international audience as vocalist of Zeromancer. Møklebust lends his characteristic voice to such tracks as the current domestic radio-hit It Feels Good and also teams up with Animal Alpha’s powerful front-woman Agnete Kjølsrud on the stunning duet Wish. Bermuda Triangle’s new material shows a band that is heading deeper into a darker, moodier, 80s tinged, synth-pop terrain, a development that fits well with the vocal expressions of the two distinct singers. Says Jan Tore: ‘When I started to write It Feels Good I was thinking along the lines of Depeche Mode and Planet Funk tunes – darker and more synth-pop like stuff. : "We began to discuss different vocalists, and through Arianes friendship with Alex, we got him to try. We began to work together last summer and hit off really well, so well that Alex now has moved to the studio we work in, Lydbadet. He has now contributed on several tracks both vocally and with his Gibson guitar.'’
‘Alex has a strong relation to the darker and more melancholic aspects of electronic music and synth pop. He has listened a lot to such acts as Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk as well as harder stuff like Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein and he also has the necessary confidence to be really intimate and personal in his delivery of the lyrics. His input has been very important for us. I’ve been working on bringing in elements from the 80s into our music for a couple of years now, but it’s only now that it has become really visible. It feels right to go back to some of our musical roots, bring it back and make it ours. After all, I was a teenager during the 80s, and had a strong relation to many of the same artists that Alex and Ariane would listen to. We all share a fascination for music that has a certain degree of darkness or kind of dark melancholy to it. To everyone’s delight it seems as if this is a happy marriage – we’re working really well together.’
33 rpm – the new album
Late March sees the long awaited release of Bermuda Triangle’s sophomore album ’33 rpm’. Says Jan Tore on the outfit’s new album: ‘When listening to the new tracks,you can tell that Alex has influenced a few of them. What used to 1/16th notes has slowed down to 1/8th notes – we’ve taken the tempo down quite considerably. Those familiar with Seigmenn and Zeromancer will also be able to spot some influences from those bands, there’s more guitars and the mood is quite a bit darker and more melancholic. We also feel that we have some really strong singles on ’33 rpm’, especially the Alex/Agnete duet Wish. The songs are much more subtle, coherent and we also feel that each composition is a much stronger entity now – in a sense, they live their own lives. ’33 rpm’ is an album that will appeal to a much wider and diverse audience that ‘Mooger Fooger’.’
’33 rpm’ also marks a shift in a new direction for the collective: ‘The new album is much more text-based’ says Jan Tore. ‘We wanted to write strong tunes and have a solid focus on what messages we wanted to convey with our songs. Language-wise, we benefit from being bi-lingual, I’m half Scottish while Ariane has a Caribbean background and came to Norway as a teenager. On this album, we want to be able to tell stories and conjure up powerful moods. Several of the songs deal with inter-human relations and classic themes such as love and hate while others have topics that are new to us, some of which are quite sexually explicit! Both I and Ariane find it interesting to move into new territories, lyric-wise, and deal with themes that we haven’t dared to touch earlier. We’ve broken quite a few barriers on this album!’ reveals Jan Tore.
What can the live audience look forward to we ask the Bermuda Triangle ideologist: ‘The audience will get to see two of Norway’s most exciting vocalists, Alex and Agnete, performing on the same stage, showing new sides to themselves and performing new material that nobody have heard live yet. People will be treated to a set of alternative, aesthetic pop with effective use of electronic elements. The current live-version of Bermuda Triangle is a bit less down-tempo and slightly more up-beat than earlier – a consequence of having played many gigs and becoming more aware of what the audience wants and needs to get moving.’
Bermuda Triangle’s new album, ’33 rpm’, is scheduled for domestic release on 27 March via Planet Noise. International release dates were not announced at press time but will be made available at www.planetnoise.com shortly.
The Bottom line:
Formed in 2001
Discography: ‘Mooger Fooger’ (Planet Noise 2003) 33 rpm (Planet Noise spring 2006)
Live line-up: Jan Tore Diesen (electronics), DJ Ariane (decks, electronics, vocals), Alex Møklebust (vocals), Agnete Kjelsrud (vocals), Thomas Emil Jacobsen (drums, percussion) and Anders Hunstad (bass)
Bermuda Triangle is one of the first acts to be confirmed for this autumn's Popkomm trade fair and festival in Berlin.
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