The old rules of EDM and folk music may not apply to Metaspion’s debut solo album Folktronica Smolktronica, but this Norwegian producer and songwriter is certainly bending them on the album and its first single. “The Old Rules Don’t Apply” is the first glimpse EDM fans will get into the interesting fusion world of Metaspion, but the album is due out this Friday, June 8. Needless to say, it’s already a wild ride.
The “folk” in Metaspion’s context for Folktronica Smolktronica is not what most American listeners would consider folk. This is traditional Scandinavian folk music, and it’s thus much older and more classically-based than folk music in the U.S.. Coming from a rock background and judging by how he blends the folk music with EDM beats, it’s clear despite this being his debut album that Metaspion, whose real name is Morten Richter, is no stranger to songwriting and composition. In short, the two genres put together actually work.
Richter accomplishes this fusion in the first single “Old Rules Don’t Apply” by turning traditional folk melodies into sort of an 80s synth sound that suddenly sounds more like Tangerine Dream or the Tron Sounddtrack. An equally 80s electro pop beat supports this melody while more folk elements are layered on top of it. A folk vocal gets a similar treatment to the base melody as it’s run through an echo modulator and added as a sample to punctuate each phrase. The only really traditional sounding element is a folk violin, which presides over the whole works and really is the only big clue to Richter’s genre fusion out of the entire track.
“Old Rules Don’t Apply” is also constructed like an EDM track. While the instrument and score layering is classical, the track has an intro, a main beat, a break and two drops. It’s not meant to be a pop song or any kind of folk or rock song, as the vocals do not drive this track. The beat does, and that is evidenced by the fact that in the break Richter actually changes the beat to drum and bass. That’s right, just when you thought this track couldn’t get any more fusion, it does. And once again, it all strangely works. It’s a great intro to what’s sure to be an interesting album.
There’s a good shot of humor in Folktronica Shmolktronica as one might guess from the title, but the music in Metaspion’s debut album is well-produced and emotive, with beautiful melodies and beat structures ranging from ambient dubstep to hard house to, as showcased in “Old Rules Don’t Apply,” even drum and bass. Richter crams a lot of crossover into this album and it’s very ambitious, but he more than lives up to the challenge. If DJs are smart this summer, a number of tracks from Metaspin will end up on the dancefloor.
Folktronica Shmolktronica releases this Friday, June 8. Check out Metaspion’s Bandcamp on the release date for purchase info. In the meantime, “Old Rules Don’t Apply” can be streamed on Soundcloud and Spotify. Check out a clip of “Not Everything Is Terrible” and the album teaser YouTube videos below.