Hypnotic, the 7th track on my album, Time Shift, is a song about skiing. When I lived in South Africa, we went skiing in Austria once a year, since that’s what the Dutch do during their Winter holidays. There’s very little snowfall in South Africa – there used to be a single ski resort run with snow-making machines, and that closed some years ago. South Africa is primarily a hot place. But my then husband was Dutch and that meant that in the depths of Summer in South Africa, we went skiing – and for that, we had to fly to the Netherlands and drive across Germany to our favourite resort, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, in Austria. Along with an absolute exodus of Dutch skiing fanatics. You should’ve seen the queues at the Arlberg Tunnel every year…
When I wrote the song, I was inspired by Liquido’s huge Euro-Synth-Pop hit of the 1990s, Narcotic. The first time I heard it was at an ápres-ski party in a pub in Fiss, in 2003. (I was of course listening to hits from the famous Cheiron Studios in Sweden that were guaranteed to blow my mind, because you just didn’t get them in South Africa.) The crowd was just standing there, bopping their heads to the beat, beers in hand, lights spinning and flashing. Me, grinning like a doofus and as happy as a clam. Narcotic was a massive hit in Europe and a club favourite for years. It is definitely one of the unforgettable songs in the Soundtrack of my Life.
My fascination with the song – and others in that genre – was probably the result of me being very cold, having had too much hot chocolate with rum, and being exhausted from skiing. I was frozen, frazzled and my mind was blown by the whole experience. To me, a dorky, shy person who had not spent much time in Europe, and had never even been at an ápres-ski party, the whole scene was hypnotic.
The previous year, the Dutch beer maker, Heineken, had launched a phenomenally successful TV ad campaign that featured a “typical” handsome ski instructor at an Austrian or German ski resort, called “Der Rudi” (German for The Rudi).
Der Rudi, portrayed by Olaf Malmberg, became a joking reference to all the serious, expert and chill ski instructors on the European slopes. It was hilarious because Der Rudi looked exactly like my usual instructor, red outfit and all!
In the commercial, Der Rudi realizes it’s snow season, runs away from his herd of cows in the mountains, cleans himself up, and bursts into the ápres ski bar shouting “Hééééé! Biertje!!” (Dutch for “Hey! How about a little beer!”) And every Dutch person on the slopes would shout that as a running joke, for years afterwards. So I put Der Rudi in the music video of Hypnotic. (Not in the song, though.)
THE SONG THAT CAME FROM SKIING
All these elements went into the making of Hypnotic. Was it an exercise in exorcizing a ghost – the ghost of my happy young days? Maybe. I sat down to write something that has everything in it that I associate with those holidays in Fiss. It has the slightly smudgy, buzzy, synth sound of Euro-Pop and a great big whopping kick-drum beat. The rest of the throbbing beats is today’s Techno sound. In terms of genre, I’d call this one Pop.
The link with Austria explains the German vocal count-in at the start and end: “Und wieder, eins, zwei, drei…” The count-down also has to do with skiing – when you kick off into the turn you count – 1, 2, 3, and make the moves, and there you go.
You can hear the “swoosh” sound of the skis going over the snow in the song. The emphases in the song are on the driving rhythm and the synth sounds (including the swoosh), particularly the lead Electric Piano.
The tempo and beats actually fit a ski style in downhill Alpine – the relaxed, big S-curve of “parallel-schwingen”, which is what I learned to do in Austria’s perfectly groomed, wide, clear slopes. So if you were to play this on your headphones when you’re skiing, you’d be in sync with the music.
Hypnotic – ápres-ski mix
The music video shows the (time) shift from the days of Der Rudi and the hits from the playlist of De Apres Skihut, an annual compilation of club and ski crowd favourites that was (still is) big in The Netherlands, to today’s dance and techno scene. From the ski-instructor stalking through the clubbers dressed in their terrible pastel-coloured ski outfits, to hip-hop dancers and vogueing party-goers.
Luke Garfield is the bass instrumentalist and composed the Intro for this track, and he also did the mixing and mastering.
Video ISRC CBAKR2210102
Audio ISRC CBAKR2201001
Luke Garfield composed and produced the song’s Intro; and the bass guitar, percussion and drums tracks
Mixed and mastered by Luke Garfield, Banana Llama Studios
Music video produced and published by Red Pennant Communications Corp.
Video Footage from Artgrid.io –
❄️Solo female dancer on backlit stage by Morten Lovechild
❄️Light effects by Djordje Stojiljkovic
❄️Club scenes by Danil Rudenko
❄️Opening title animation by Alvaro Parra Serrano
Additional footage from Pexels.com – Trio of female hip hop dancers; party girl in gold dress by Cottonbro Studio
Public domain footage of “‘Der Rudi’ Ski Instructor”, portrayed by Olaf Malmberg, from “Biertje!” Heineken television commercial campaign, 2002