In the small, snowy town of Alta, Norway, Simon Olsen passes the time writing, recording, and producing. He sets up camp in whatever room of his parents’ house feels right that day, whether it’s his bedroom or the kitchen. As fijitrip, he patches together an eclectic combination of synth-pop and alt-electronic elements with bits and pieces of hip-hop thrown in the mix. His debut EP Tech, is rightfully named, due to its sound disjointed yet calculated, like artificial intelligence trying to pass for a human.
Of the EP, Olsen shares with EARMILK, “it’s kind of two-sided. It’s going to be pop music but it’s going to feel a bit off at times." Tech comes with visual counterparts, that glitch and flash in the same unpredictable and captivatingly unnerving way. “It felt like it was artificial and plastic to me,” says Olsen of his sound. “I just knew it had to look and feel a bit uncomfortable. Whatever the visuals are going to be, it has to feel as uncanny as the music feels.” All the videos for Tech were made by Olsen himself with a combination of Photoshop and Premiere Pro.
The EP includes singles “New $hoes” and “Not Like,” previews of Olsen’s bizarre vocal chops that he clipped to his upbeat pop melodies. The first song on the EP is “Frail,” a vulnerable mashup of bass guitar and warped synthesizers with chops and glitches that shuffle the melody like a deck of cards. The end result is a cohesive yet unpredictable journey with some surprise chunks of wobbling electronic sound and analog piano.
“Supermario” is a nostalgic ode to the game itself, specifically the Nintendo 64 version (which is still Olsen’s game of choice). Olsen’s echoing vocal is reminiscent of the Japanese House, but bursts of pulsing electronic and computer-like beeps and rings. He tailored it specifically to resemble the gameplay sounds in the classic Super Mario 64 release.
Tech doesn’t just sound futuristic, it discusses modern human interactions with technology. Olsen writes love songs, but never ignores the role that technology plays in the role it plays in our love lives. “In your phone and on your bed” makes technology a physical space that we can visit, but also get stuck in. The track is choppy. It’s like pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit together, but still look good lined up next to each other.
The EP closes with “Madebymachines,” an acoustic outlier. It doesn’t have the heavy glitching synthesizers and computerized sounds that the other songs do, but the soft acoustic guitar track still crackles, pops, and chops when you least expect it. “I knew that if I’m going to make an acoustic song it has to feel a bit weird,” explains Olsen. “That’s why there’s a lot of synthesizer sounds in the background and a bit of weird stuff happening on the sides of the song. Ear candy, as I like to call it.” We couldn't agree more.