VA - Cold War on the Rocks [Svart Records - 2019]Svart Records once again hits the bins to dig up some synthy classics of Finnish disco with September's Cold War on the Rocks: Disco and Electronic Music From Finland 1980-1991. With varied styles spread over 20 tracks, this new compilation unearths some juicy bits from Finland's past, and opens up a new world to the uninitiated listener. Some right on line and some off the wall, Cold War on the Rocks provides a nice overview of a musically rich decade.
When Svart puts out a compilation, they put out a compilation. Packed to the gills, this track packed release pushes the limits of CD technology and makes the most of its allotted minutes. Spanning the musically diverse 80's (and a wee bit of the 90's), Cold War on the Rocks captures the Finnish disco and electronic scene from this time and brings it forth to a modern audience. Bringing these old hits to light for the world to see, Svart helps expose the Finnish scene to the masses and exposes this country's rich musical history. Released during a period fraught with tension, these tracks have a dark optimism to them. That is, they're not all bright and bubbly like pop, but they're not completely dark and grim. There is a coldness to them that is undeniable, but there is also that positive, optimistic bent that keeps them elevated. And, though all of this mixing of emotions, there is a solid danceabilty to each track, no matter how off the dancefloor it would outwardly seem. Visual's "Big and Beautiful" has a Vangelis vibe to it, but still could get them out on the tiles, and the oddity that is Kain Käärmeenpoika's "Eros - Jumalan Kaltainen" brings out an eclectic groove. Overall capturing a similar vibe to earlier releases like Satan In Love and Dance For Your Life, Cold War on the Rocks showcases a completely fun and different brand of electronic pop and disco for the world to see. Though, to be honest, Biba's "The Night Is Like Magic" feels like a watered down version of Sheila E's "The Glamorous Life," but really, that song's a scorcher.
Cold War on the Rocks highlights 20 songs from Finland's electronic and disco scenes from 1980-1991. This was a decade heavy on impending doom, and the music helped lift the people's spirits. Fun, danceable songs with darker undertones fit the bill, and Svart makes sure that modern audiences don't forget their roots. This is another jam packed compilation from a fun and ambitious labelPaul Casey