Dance producers usually have a secret ambient side that bides its time before modestly appearing under a pseudonym. Joachim Dyrdahl, the Norwegian house producer who works under the name Diskjokke just chose not to hide his under a different moniker. Sagara is his journey into deep inner/outer space, and while it’s slightly more purposeful than its bigger-scale predecessor, En Fin Tid, it’s also a rather charming lesson in Dyrdahl’s strengths.
The opening “Golotrok” sets the tone — slowly, since its rising organ and synth chords, bottle-tap percussion, and sub-bass heartbeat take a good half of its eight-and-a-half minutes to announce themselves even loudly on headphones. But tiny melodies whisper through the fog, and the drowsy pulse encourages you to curl up with it. There’s a lot of subtle, but well-considered, digital-insects-adrift-in-the-night-air effects and textures, that announce miniatures like “Segnon” and add scenery to the longer-lined “Namida.” And both “Naive” and “Mandena” get their sonic depth and semi-arcane feel from the gamelan bells that serve as their primary melodic source. There’s some of the tundra-like feel of Diskjokke’s louder work, of course, but this is more intimate and snowed-in, candlelit and comfortable.