The underground rock music above the artic circle

by Tore Stemland, 1999

Once upon a time there was a music magazine in Norway named PULS. It was the leading magasine in the early 80's, and naive as we were up north, we actually thougt they were doing serious music journalism. How wrong can you get. We, who lived in the north of Norway, was abruptly woken from our fairy sleep by an '82 edition of Puls. It was a fierce attack on music from nortern

Norway, claiming that there was no rock music up north. Using bands like Zoo, Unit Five, January and the like of poor Norwegian pop bands to prove their point. A statement that caused quite a bit of ruffle up here. Both the local press and the few fanzines that existed up north was in a state of shock, reacting with disbelief and anger. But did the Oslo press care about a few ripples from the

north? Oh sure. The "Lords of the south " surely knew much better what happened here than we did. That bands like Karlsøy Prestegaard, Søt Hævn, Norgez Bank, Hjertesvikt A/S and more had released records, and gotten good rewiews in both Puls and other music magazines in Norway didn't seem to affect them much.

what had to be done and if it was economically possible.  They soon agreed on concentrating on Nordland county north of Saltfjellet as   this was the area where they had most of their contacts. Invitations were sent,  and at last they had enough contributions to put together a compilation that  would prove Puls foolish statements wrong.

It should be mentioned that at the time there was only one compilation containing artists from Northern Norway. It was a compilation from the rock and folk song festival Draugen, and contained precious little rock. Autumn '82 saw compilations Marathonrock '82  (Igloo) mc (The city of Bodø artists only) and Bankhjørnet (Tromsø sparebank) mc (The city of Tromsø artists only). Both was well ment, thoe suffered from lack of creativity.

Unfortunately, a sloppy rock society showed their incompetence, with a few positive exeptions in Hjertesvikt A/S and Norgez Bank. Time was overdue for a compilation that could show that the music scene up north had a lot of fresh undergrowth. With this as a basis,

Null Problem was concieved.

When the contributors had been agreed upon, work on getting the music on tape, with as high sound quality as possible without using a studio, started. This was due to the scarseness of studios in the area and the cost of using them. Portable studios were used industrious and several conserts were put on

There was quite a few other bands that could have successfully been a part of this compilation, but this did not come to happen. The reason for rereleasing Null Problem is to make it available to those genually interested in underground music. On the release there will also be made available some bonustracks that has either been earlier released Svartedauen (from Rognan), Slakt (from Narvik) and Nacent Liw (from Harstad)or that have only existed as demos; Skjit-Lars (from Bodø).

Rognan Handballag, and it's audience

The reactions up north came on like pearls on a string. Not stupid, we quickly understood that to criticise Puls was like throwing water on a duck. This took  stronger measures. A Bodø company, B.Rock, who had released Hjertesvikt A/S  debut-EP in '81 set about to produce a compilation to prove Puls's statements on North-Norwegian rock dead wrong. Tor Olav Andreassen, B-Rock in person,  contacted Gakk music-zine and its editor Jan Martin Jensen. Together they sat  down to find out

tape. These with "rehersal-studio" recordings, made up the sound material used. At the same time an artist, Runar Karlsen, was persuated to make the cover. With all material ready, early autumn '82, the compilation was put together.

Geografically the bands came from three different parts in north; The city, Bodø (Hjertesvikt A/S, Mitti Skritti, Peder pung og de kåte, Rognan Håndballag and Termisk sammenbrudd), the area, Fauske (Hemma Vækst and Sekunda Mannsværk) and the city, Narvik (Jeg Falt, Krim U., Motstandsbevægelsen,  Schlumsøstrene and Total Undergang).

The CD reissue in 2000 of the Null Problem-KZ from 1982. Plus some ekstra bands and songs.

Snack Ohm Tapes do still have some CD-copies left.

Null Problem was finally in the shops between Xmas and New years eve, and came as a late xmas present to many. And what a gift. There was diamonds from most genres of rock. The diversity and quality of the musical expressions was the best response Puls could have gotten on their statement concerning  North Norwegian rock. The critics were clear. One of the first, the English musicpaper Sounds, who at the time was Englands third largest, wrote at the 19/3-83 this amongst other ".....It is a bit like listening to the second Live at the Roxy album but with the lyrics translated into Norwegian..." Norwegian critics varied. Expectedly the Oslo medias were not to impressed as opposed to "The far north" where media and especially the fanzines were both proud and impressed by the release. Sales where overwhelming and the first edition of 500 copies was sold out in no time. A second edition of 300 copies was made. At the same time some flaws on the cover was fixed. You could say that Null Problem became a success against all odds. The idea of rereleasing Null problem have existed for a long time. One can as a listener just state the fact that the compilation has stood the test of time and is today as one of the most important documents on North Norwegian rockmusic.

Those who have taken the responsibility of sharing this treasure with future generations is a small underground label named Snack Ohm Tapes. This company has released around ten releases over the past decade and is now able to enjoy the world with a new one...