Den Sorte Skole is a sample-based producer and composer group from Copenhagen, Denmark, founded in 2004 by Simon Dokkedal, Martin F. Jakobsen (on leave since 2011) and Martin Højland.
By sampling fragments of sound from old vinyl-records from all corners of the world and genres as diverse as folk, psych rock, early electronic music, noise, all kinds of so-called world-music, classical music and field recordings, Den Sorte Skole take listeners on a unique journey through musical history and beyond. This is world-music in the true sense of the word!
Their live performances are like dark symphonic trips unfolding on samplers, turntables and effect-machines with tons of samples flying through the speakers. However, as opposed to most turntable-lists, scratching and immediate dj-effects are not used here. They blend the thousands of sound bites into flawless collages of sound; sounding like it was intended to be like this. In that sense Den Sorte Skole’s shows are to be considered concerts and not DJ-sets or turntablist-shows.
Den Sorte Skole started out as a hip-hop and reggae DJ crew and soon became the Danish frontrunners practicing the concept of mash-up DJ’ing. By making surprising blends of legends like Neil Young with Dj Premier and Janis Joplin with Dj Format live on turntables they gathered a large following in Denmark. This resulted in their first release – the mixtape, Lektion #1 from 2006.
Three years later Lektion #1 was followed by Lektion #2 in 2008 – a more complex mix of vinyl samples gathered from a much more genre-diverse group of music. Everything from Anatolian progressive rock, British horror movie soundtracks and forgotten Danish folk tunes came together with dark hip-hop beats and explosive thunderclaps form early dub-step and drum’n’bass. Though still a mixtape, Lektion #2 became the best-reviewed music release in Denmark in 2008 and Den Sorte Skole went on several sold-out tours.
With Lektion III, Den Sorte Skole left the realm of mash-ups and mixtapes completely and released a full-scale sampled-based album. Three years of work went into this magnum opus that was hailed by The New Yorker as one of the “6 Best Overlooked Albums of 2013 Worldwide” and earned them the prestiges Danish Critic’s Award – ”Steppeulven” – as ”Composers of the Year 2014”.
Indians & Cowboys
Den Sorte Skole released their latest album, Indians & Cowboys, on October 26, 2015. Thousands of samples from more than 350 old vinyl records originating from more than 75 different countries on six continents come together on this mind-blowing piece of work. Expect everything from head nodding tribal bangers to middle-eastern funky grooves, distorted noise infernos and beautiful piano-trips. Indians & Cowboys is like a colorful and chaotic representation of the conflict-torn world we live in anno 2015
The reception has been nothing short of amazing. Raving reviews from across the world and selections on tons of the yearly best-of lists with quotes such as: