Retro-fuelled Nordic duo hit the spot
Ultraflex is the pairing of Norwegian songwriter Farao and Icelandic musician Special-K. The two individually accomplished artists make an exceptional team when it comes to producing slick, crystalline disco pop.
Farao is the multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter Kari Jahnsen, whose previous albums were inspired by everything from Alice Coltrane and old Soviet disco to 90s R&B, while Special-K is the alias of Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir, a visual arts graduate and key figure in the Reykjavík music scene thanks to her involvement in groups like the feminist rap collective Reykjavikurdaetur. The two musical talents met when they were both hired to work on a piece for Scandinavian electronic music festivals Insomnia and Extreme Chill in 2019. Their self-produced debut album, ‘Visions Of Ultraflex’, is the impressive product of “a few short, intense writing sessions in the remote Westfjords of Iceland, the arctic Tromsø and Berlin”.
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Ultraflex’s sharp, playful palette of 80s beats and retro sounds invokes a dreamy nostalgia. ‘Visions Of Ultraflex’ sounds like the kind of forgotten gem often unearthed by reissue labels Dark Entries and Minimal Wave. So the gorgeous, retrofuturist sheen of opener ‘Get Fit’ sparkles like a lost Saâda Bonaire track, while ‘Olympic Sweat’ glistens with sentimental synths, and ‘Papaya’ is Balearic boogie complete with saxophone solos. The tongue-in-cheek vibe also carries over to Ultraflex’s quirky music videos (some of which were made by fellow Norwegian experimental pop artist Okay Kaya). Ultraflex are a duo of inimitable songwriters and with a debut this strong, here’s hoping the collaboration continues.
‘Visions Of Ultraflex’ is out on Street Pulse