Here’s something that’s caught my ear recently: Skweee (that’s S-K-W-E-E-E), which started in Finland and Sweden a little over 10 years ago. The goal of skweee seems to be the use of the most synthetic sounds possible to make music that is still funky and soulful. It is a downtempo style - much slower than Electro House or Drum and Bass. The digital drum parts are lifted from funk and R & B, the melodies, chords and basslines tend to sound like they came from the cheapest synthesizers available.
The Skweee story has all the ingredients needed to make it a sub-culture phenomenon. It arose from a small group of young, untrained musicians with a lot of passion and energy. Certain small dance clubs allowed them to plug their motley collections of equipment into the p.a., and a following started. To add to its underground appeal, Skweee records are traditionally released by small, independent labels in 7” vinyl format in plain, white paper wrappers. And, as it should be, there is an independent film, We Call it Skweee, that documents the whole thing.
There is a stark, Nordic quality to this music - the sounds are raw, the texture is minimal, the expression is direct and immediate, with more than a little ironic humor. It may be primitive and strange, but Skweee reflects the culture it comes from in a real, honest way. And what more does it need to qualify as a legitimate art form?