DE PRESS “FLUE/TANNHJUL” 4-SONG 7″EP (TORPEDO PLATTER- OSLO, NORWAY, 1980)
Now here is a cool little platter from the home of many cool little platters: Norway! The “KBD era” of the late 70’s and early 80’s was a ripe time in Norway, and lots of great, memorable punk chug emerged from there.
This De Press EP is a unique sounding, “out of the box” record that is not really “punk” per se but the energy and speedy delivery has a kinship with punk, as do the short song lengths, and- front and center- the guitar noise which, in my opinion, is TO DIE FOR. You must crank this thing up to fully appreciate it! A tip of the hat to the guitarist, Jørn Christensen, who plucks away feverishly for the most part. The bass player and singer, Andrej Dziubek Nebb, comes across as a pretty unique cat who can really sing (a la Contu from Pekinska Patka). He can hold those deep, extended notes- check the :40 second opening track, “Ostavind”. The drummer, Ola Snortheim (love that name!), pounds away too and overall, it’s a pretty tight sounding affair and they fucking nailed it on this EP. My favorite song is the third track, “Pond”, which is the most manic track on the whole record and their punkest moment. I was first introduced to this song (and De Press) in 1997 when it appeared on the Bloodstains Across Norway comp LP. That comp was full of lots of great tunes, but “Pond” was definitely a standout track that had me wanting to hear their whole EP. I was also kind of intrigued since the song title was listed as “Unknown” and the liner notes said that they had no information about the band. And when I did hear the whole EP about two years later, thanks to P.R., I was not let down! I even dig the longer, slower, moodier last track, “Produkt”. It comes right after Pond and the sequencing is perfect for me because after jumping around listening to such a bonkers track I can mellow out and cool down a bit.
I said earlier that they fucking nailed it on this EP, but please know that they ONLY got it right it on this EP! They went on to become a- watch out!– “influential” band and their first two LP’s from 1981 and 1982 blow in my opinion. They must have had- double watch out!– “bigger ambitions” after their first EP because they toned things down and became a rock band with a much blander, generic, more traditional sound that was totally overproduced in the studio and was stripped away of any rawness. So perhaps when they drifted in the nether regions with their-ahem– “evolving” sound they were just kind of ignored rather than loathed by punks since they were probably not really part of the scene to begin with.
Check out “Pond” on the Bloodstains Across Norway comp LP that was released in 1997, as well as on the apparently digital-only Anarki & Kaos 2: Punk, Råråkk Og Aggresjon 1978-81 comp that came out in late 2006 on the Voices of Wonder label. And while you’re at it, check it the great Anarki and Kaos: Norsk Punk ’79-’81 comp LP that came out way back in 1992. Before the Bloodstains comp, this was the first KBD-ish collection of Norweigan punk I heard and listened to over and over many moons ago. De Press was not on it, but perennial Norweigan shit-rock favorites Pink Dirt and many others were, which makes for a good time.
In putting this post together I found out some interesting information about the band, which I never knew before. Not that I knew much about them to begin with anyway. I learned the real title of the record which is “Flue-Tannhjul”. For all these years I’ve seen it either referred to as the “Tio Sibir” EP or even the more generic “s/t”. Also, the band is still around- apparently, they reunited in 1991 but singer Andrej Nebb is the only original member- if you’re interested, their official site is here.
Since the band was from Norway I naturally assumed all members were native Norweigans but it turns out that singer Andrez Nebb was a Polish refugee (!?) which intrigued me and made me wonder how many Polish refugees end in Norway of all places. Poland seems to be a fair distance from Norway to begin with and does not seem like a natural immigration route. So when I dug a little deeper, I found a bio of him on the band’s site, all in Polish of course, and ran it through good ol’ Google Translator. And his back story is interesting to history dorks like me who get off on this stuff. OK, first off, Mr. Nebb was born in 1953 and formed his first band in high school called- er- “Lotions” (what a bad band name!), a cover band who played Hendrix and whatnot, and got some gigs at weddings and even some polkas and waltzes (this is polka capital Poland we’re talkin’ bout here!). Apparently Mr. Nebb was an anti-communist though, which was not a good thing to be in Poland at the time. So in 1970, he fled with two of his friends for Austria. And here’s where it gets more interesting: he apparently had to pass through a minefield on the Czechoslovakian-Austrian border (bet that was fun!) and ended up in a refugee
camp (bet that was a blast too!). Then, while working in the refugee camp, he had an accident and lost three fingers on his left hand (punk!). But after only four months in Austria, he ended up with a Visa to Norway. After finishing some schooling for four years, he founded “the first” (who else claims that?) Norwegian punk band in 1977 called Pull Out (anyone have anything by them? I’m really interested). Then Mr. Nebb attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, Norway and in 1980 founded De Press. And the rest is history, or at least the first EP is for us punk fans.