MIC's Listen to Norway series continues with Thomas Dybdahl's 'Stray Dogs'
Fans claim that Norwegian artist Thomas Dybdahl has created a genre which is entirely his own, and accordingly he can only be gauged within the corpus of his own work. These are grand statements regarding a twenty-five-year-old, but more and more seem to subscribe, critics and ordinary listeners alike. So, adhering to the descripatory guidelines thus laid out, the genre is that of “the October sound”, after Dybdahl’s debut: That great October sound. This record initiated the hugely ambitious project the artist embarked on in 2002; the October sound trilogy, indicating the mutual conditionality between the albums’ sound and their annual October releases. The record here presented is the remarkable ‘Stray Dogs’, the second of the three, released in October 2003. The ground for “the October sound” having been prepared by the first record, ‘Stray Dogs’ became an instant success and cemented the position that Dybdahl had “silently” risen to in Norwegian music. Never before has a so young and previously unaccomplished artist embarked on such an ambitious project –tantamount almost, to an artistic crusade- with such unequivocal success. There seems to be no resistance in any camp to “the great October sound”, and the success is of the manifestly true and wholesome kind: this is no ephemeral flicker; no hit based steep ascent prying on instant combustion. Rather, Dybdahl has reissued the truth of the promise that drives all artists; that despite the mercilessness of the marked and the callousness of its players, true substantial contributions will gather momentum and in their own patient way prevail.