18 Mar 2016

Den Sorte Skole: "Indians & Cowboys"

Den Sorte Skole stand out through the complete dedication to their craft - This is REAL DJ'ing!
Every so often an act pops up that is so tenacious, different and well-crafted that you can do nothing more than stare in awe at what you've come across. Den Sorte Skole from Denmark are one such act, and though they've only been around in this incarnation since 2004, their legacy is already mindblowing. They started out as pioneers of Danish mash-up DJ'ing, captivating audiences with unlikely combinations, but ultimately evolved into the form we see before us today: The duo that sample their way through the history of music.

"Their sound is all-embracingly ethnic, chillingly folky and inclusively worldly and hip."

The cover artwork in itself is in many ways a mirror image of the music found on their fourth album Indians & Cowboys: An assortment of works patchworked together to form a cohesive unit. Their sound is all-embracingly ethnic, chillingly folky and inclusively worldly and hip. Indians & Cowboys is a work that effectively includes both old and new in a mix like no other. The duo skillfully craft this myriad of styles into a concoction where instruments and esoteric effects can go hand in hand, complimenting and accentuating one another, but also hinder one another in an accomplished display of mixing and structural understanding and talent.

As usual the physical representation of the album is a heavy and substantial work in itself, and it goes great with the theme. The black double vinyl record is tailormade, and the works collected to make the album have never sounded better. Like with 2013's Lektion III, the duo's first fully sample-based album, this album comes with a comprehensive booklet, 26 full colour pages chronicling every minor detail about the samples' origins. And this sounds snobbish, but that is why listening to the vinyl version at home is by far the superior way to experience Indians & Cowboys. Immersing yourself not only in the brilliantly composed soundtrack but also in the booklet, the cover and the physical presence is essential.

Den Sorte Skole, or "The Black School", is a Danish term for something conservative, reactionary and basically old school. In that way the Danish duo live up to their own ideals by doing everything by hand. Using thousands of samples from more than 350 vinyl records from all over the world, literally, their music is not just music. It is art, and it is craft. Sampling from a multitude of genres, the duo (which started as a trio) avoids any pigeonholing genre placement. Instead their style is a vivid and colourful mish-mash of old school electronica, folk music from the entire globe, hip hop beats, psychedelic rock, industrial, jazz, blues and more. Den Sorte Skole are among the most unique and skilled players in music today, and their fourth album stands testament to their dedication and enthusiasm for their craft.


Released in 2015 independently

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