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Under The Influence

Loose and heavy

Indrajit Hazra Feb 15, 2013


I’ve never been big on stumbling on to new music. There was a time when I would discover acts by letting music videos run on the television and then taking note of the band that had managed to grab me by my ears. Otherwise, I had enough folks around me who recommended decent stuff that I would proceed to dig deeper into. Over the last 20 years, I’ve also been lucky to have been reviewing music. Much of the new music that I have been fond of since has been discovered through this routine/racket.

In the summer of 2011, I found myself at the Way Out West music festival in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. Over three days at Slottskogen Park, I watched established acts such as Pulp, Kanye West, The Hives as well as Prince crank it up and let it out. But it was outside the festival venue, inside the dimly-lit Park Laneclub, that I discovered a three-piece band that blew me away like a dandelion stalk inside a wind tunnel.

Thulebasen is a Danish band from Copenhagen and, as you may have noticed, they haven’t really become a household name. Their music can be described as a porridge mix of punk, prog and psych rock. But I think the tag ”˜heavy’ suits their music the best. The first thing I noticed was that the heavy drum play ”“ think ”˜Caveman banging on skulls’ ”“ emanated from a slight figure seated behind the kit in a hoodie. She was Felia Gram-Hansen and I could have mistaken this drummer girl ”“ so unlike the super-flamboyant woman drummer I had seen at Slottsskogen Park an hour before playing with Prince ”“ for a talented schoolboy.

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In the heavy haze of riff and guitar and skins, the two guitar players walked about in the small stage ”“ Nis Bysted on lead-rhythm guitar wearing a baseball cap and twirling out notes that were paradoxically super-tight and free-fl owing at the same time; and Niels Kristian Eriksen on guitar-bass looking more like a hobo literature student than a fiery musician throwing off sparks from violent bass lines.

Thulebasen’s music is seeped with a punk rock heart and yet, being heavy loose core ”“ best defined by tracks such as “Gate 5” and “Monster” that mix a lava lamp sound with heavy stomp music ”“ their sound is that of loud, bubbling chemical reaction in process.

Till date, Thulebasen has two albums, Guitar Wand (2008) and Gate 5 (2011) and they are absolutely fabulous live. I don’t usually recommend ”˜new music’ to people. But if you’re willing to take a heavy toke of ”˜punk jazz’, I would seriously consider you get acquainted to their album Gate 5 that you can download from the iTunes store. They keep it heavy, they keep it loose.

Indi Hazra is a novelist and journalist. He lives in New Delhi. He does not get jazz.