So what is “skweee”? Skweee is a musical genre that originated in Scandinavia based around the production styles of producers like Randy Barracuda, Daniel Savio and Eero Johannes. It’s purely electronic, synth based, with its roots in modern hip-hop and the 80’s electro-funk likes of Rick James and Cybotron.
The easiest to describe this music would be to start by asking you to imagine a current hip-hop or crunk beat. Now, instead of the sparse synth flourishes favored by a producer like Timbaland, imagine instead that every small space of sound around those beats is filled with jabs, pops, blips, blops, chords and squelches. According to the Wikipedia page (which is accurate for once!):
The name Skweee was coined by Daniel Savio, one of the originators of the emerging sound. The name refers to the use of vintage synthesizers in the production process, where the aim is to “squeeze out” the most interesting sounds possible.
The main labels releasing skweee (mostly on the 7 or 12 inch vinyl format) are Norway’s dodpop, Sweden’s Flogsta Danshall, and Finland’s Harmonia. Ben Butler, the subject of yesterday’s post, has put together a mix of vinyl-only skweee releases which features music by Eero Johannes, Mesak, Limonious, Beem & Joxaren and more. The full tracklisting is here.
For more info, the website Skweeelicious is a good place to start, as is the International Skweee Volume Two compilation on Harmonia. There is also a documentary about the genre titled We Call It Skweee (“A film about music, people and Scandinavia” by Iacopo Patierno and David Giese) which features interviews with all the main players on the scene. For more info, or to buy a copy, visit the film’s website. Here’s the trailer:
Daniel Savio “Lord Of The Flies”
Randy Barracuda “Ketamine Strut”
Eero Johannes “We Could Be Skweeroes”