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Illumination

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Between 1994 – 2004, Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen performed as, and produced a number of electronic music releases under the artist name “Illumination”. All of these particular releases were essentially produced via their own respected labels “+47” & “Love OD”, and to this day, both artists and labels continue to control the master recordings.

 

During this period, all of Illumination’s musical output was released and licensed onwards to a number of different major labels, or independent distributors; depending on whichever contracts, or territories their music would find a nesting place, outside of Norway.

 

Some of their timeless electronica has found its way back in the digital realm, either uploaded illegally, or without due care and attention; and both +47/Love OD are now working towards getting their fine catalogue back online; digitised for future generations of love.

 

Biography:

 

“The London-Tromsø constellation, you’ve just been f***ed by Illumination”.

 

The somewhat unlikely partnership of Nicholas Sillitoe; a hippy-go-lucky musician from affluent south west London, and Per Martinsen; a north Norwegian industrial strength rave artist, who together tripped the light fantastic in Oslo, in the mid 1990’s “acid house” scene.

Over the next decade, the two companions continued to create their multi-coloured music (ad)ventures, with a number of epic underground productions, taking their unique blend of electronica far and wide, across the North Sea.

Illumination, and their “Chilluminati” remix guise, created some seminal moments in Norwegian club culture, with tracks that totally defined the era. Soundtracks to underground clubs “Skansen”, “Jazid”, and the burgeoning rave scene, with support from Oslo’s DJ house & techno elite and kindred spirits; DJ Abstract and DJ Strangefruit (amongst others).

Despite being an active project for over ten years, it could appear that Illumination’s total release output was fairly sparse. However, Nicholas and Per were known to use a painstakingly long time sculpting each and every one of their tracks, locked away in studio spaces, days on end.

 

Electronic music, at that time, was not just a "drag and drop", colour-by-numbers affair. Il productions were a complex lo-fi/hi-fi hybrid of raw analogue synths, vocal soundbytes, mysterious samples, and bubbly beats; often with tracks lasting well over 10 minutes, with the pair creating adrenaline-rushed live sequences and mixes in an improvised, technologically tricky process. Music to both “punish the dancefloor”, as Per would often put it, with Nicholas’ simple wish to propel the listener to “rare altitudes”.

 

Illumination releases were thankfully licensed, and promoted and discovered outside the sometimes chilly confines of Norway. Their uncompromising tracks lived on in shrink-wrapped vinyl imports, glowing DJ reaction sheets, distorted club sound systems, and progressively more and more DJ charts in pre-internet underground magazines; with their DAT tape masters eventually landing on the desks at a number of indie (and major) labels around the world, eager to discover more of this unique nordic electronica, and the mysterious chaps behind the sound.

Illumination tracks slowly but surely appeared on a vast number of mix compilations, eventually pushing their music up to the more mainstream, worldwide club scene; with DJ tours, better promotion, and international releases on “Café del Mar” helping their own releases get discovered. 

 

Their two albums “This Is Illumination”, and “The Poppy Rocks” essentially compiled and collected their most treasured recordings. From the deep house journeys of “Sometimes Almost Heaven”, the arctic ambience of “Black Sun”, the chill-out classic “Cookie Raver”, the heartfelt and euphoric cover of “Cry Me A River”, the introverted folktronica of “Kool Karma”, to the desolate “Palestine, Texas”.

 

Fast forward to today, it is easy to see (and hear) the influence of Illumination in Norwegian electronic music, paving the way for a next generation of artists as diverse as Røyksopp, Todd Terje, Lindstrøm, etc, and so much of what we hear now.

 

The pair stopped recording together in 2004, after a “fine innings”, leaving a catalogue of unique Illumination releases, and superb “Chilluminati” remixes. Per Martinsen to this day, continues to record under his original solo artist moniker, “Mental Overdrive”, with Nicholas also producing his own variants of post-classical electronica in both film scores and newer ventures like "Neon Streams" & "Nicholas & Sebastian".

 

A fine parting shot to the Norwegian music industry, at a tedious award ceremony, sometime around 2005, Nicholas and Per were spotted swigging champagne, wearing self-made T-shirts with the slogan, “We’re Only In It For The Prophet”. Illumination in a nutshell.

Thankfully their music (at least some of it) is still out there, and available on streaming services. Illumination's "Cookie Raver" still remains an Ibiza chill-out anthem, transmitting all the timeless love and warmth you can possibly imagine, from it's cold, crisp Norwegian original climes, way back in time.

Photo: Albert Boullet.

Listen to Illumination

Illumination - Kool Karma
Illumination - Palestine, Texas
Illumination - Black Sun
Illumination

Artist Releases 
(in chronological order)

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Satellite.jpg
Hope To God.jpg
Hope To God.jpg
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Perfect Sky.jpg
She Got Soul.jpg
This is Illumination.jpg
Cry Me A River.jpg
Kool Karma.jpg
The Poppy Rocks.jpg

Illumination - Satellite

Format: 12” Vinyl 

Cat#: i+47 94001

© 1994

 

A1:  Satellite (αΙΙωΙ)

A2:  Satellite (Activity)

B1:  Satellite (M↱O Driven)

 

Credits: 

Written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

 

Additional Info:

Recorded at Disc Lab, Oslo. Engineer: Ken Theodorsen.

Additional recordings at CIC, London. Engineer/programmer: Cisco Ferreira. 

 

Artwork: Anne Engebretsen.

Design: Designwerke (aka Claus Torp).

 

Note: This release contained three separate mixes of “Satellite”, with the “M↱O Driven” mix referring to Per Martinsen’s (Mental Overdrive) own live pass.

The vocal samples/loops were performed by Nicholas Sillitoe.

 

This release is currently not available for digital streaming.

Illumination - Satellite

Format: 12” Vinyl

Cat#: MM011

© 1995

 

A1:  Satellite (M↱O Driven)

B1:  Satellite (αΠΩΠ Mix)

B2:  Satellite

 

Credits: 

Written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

 

Additional Info:

Recorded at Disc Lab, Oslo. Engineer: Ken Theodorsen.

Additional recordings at CIC studios, London. Engineer/programmer: Cisco Ferreira. Additional edits: Hans Olav Grøttheim.

 

Note: This release was a repackaged reissue of “Satellite” on the Belgian label, Music Man - in conjunction with Internal/London Records (UK).

The A-side was a new vinyl cut of the “M↱O Driven” mix, with two other alternative mixes/passes Nicholas & Per had compiled from different mix sessions in both Oslo & London.

 

This release is currently not available for digital streaming.

Illumination - Hope To God

Format: : 12” Vinyl

Cat#: i+47 95002

© 1995

A1:  Hope To God ( M↱O Driven)

B1:  Hope To God (Istigkeit)

 

Credits: 

Written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

 

Additional Info: 

Recorded at Disc Lab, Oslo. Engineer: Ken Theodorsen.

Mixed at 4m2 studios, Oslo.

 

Artwork: Anne Engebretsen. 

Design: Designwerke (aka Claus Torp).

 

Note: This release contained two separate mixes/versions of “Hope To God”.

Per Martinsen was responsible for the “M↱O Driven” live pass, with the “Istigkeit” mix by both Nicholas & Per, with the vocal sample/loops performed by Nicholas Sillitoe.

 

This release is currently not available for digital streaming.

Illumination - Hope To God

Format: 2x12” Vinyl/CD single/EP

Cat#: LIARX 24 / LIECD 24

© 1995

 

A1:  Hope To God (Istigkeit)

B1:  Hope To God (M↱O Driven)

C1:  Hope To God (Biosphere)

D1:  Hope To God (Concept #1)

 

Credits: 

Written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

 

Additional Info: 

Recorded at Disc Lab, Oslo. Engineer: Ken Theodorsen. 

Mixed at 4m2 studios, Oslo.

 

Artwork: 

Designwerke (aka Claus Torp).

 

Note: This release was a repackaged reissue of “Hope To God” on Internal/London Records (UK), with two new versions of “Hope To God. The original “Concept #1”mix, as well as an exclusive remix from Biosphere (aka Geir Jenssen).

 

The running order on the CD single/EP was altered from the vinyl version, as follows. 

1.  Hope To God (Concept #1)

2.  Hope To God (Istigkeit) 

3.  Hope To God (M↱O Driven)

4.  Hope To God (Biosphere)

This release is currently not available for digital streaming (apart from the "Biosphere" remix).

 

Illumination - Sometimes Almost Heaven

Format: : 10” Vinyl

Cat#: MM045

© 1998

 

A1:  Sometimes Almost Heaven

B1:  The Way Out Is The Way

 

Credits: 

Written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

 

Additional Info:

Additional ideas & input: Dj Strangefruit. 

 

Artwork: Designwerke (aka Claus Torp).

 

Note: This release was an exclusive license from +47/Love OD to Music Man (Belgium).

 

"The Way Out Is The Way" is currently not available for digital streaming.

Illumination - Perfect Sky

Format: : 10” Vinyl

Cat#: MM052

© 1999

 

A1:  Perfect Sky

B1:  4AM

 

Credits: 

Written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

 

Additional Info:

Keyboard solo: Kjetil Husebø (Perfect Sky).

Additional ideas & input: Dj Strangefruit (Perfect Sky).

 

Artwork: Designwerke (aka Claus Torp).

 

Note: This release was an exclusive license from +47/Love OD to Music Man (Belgium).

 

Illumination - She Got Soul

Format: 10” Vinyl 

Cat#: 74321 70338 1

© 2000

 

A1:   She Got Soul

B1:   Black Sun

 

Credits: 

Written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

 

Artwork: Designwerke (aka Claus Torp).

 

Note: This release was an exclusive license from +47/Love OD to the BMG/RCA (Norway).

A “promo only” CD single was also manufactured, though not for commercial release. This included a radio edit of “She Got Soul”, the eventual album version, as well as the track “Somewhere Out There" (as a teaser for the forthcoming album “This Is Illumination”).

Illumination - This Is Illumination

Format: CD/Cassette/Digital album

Cat#: 74321 703372

© 2000

 

1.   Perfect Sky

2.   She Got Soul

3.   Somewhere Out There (feat. Anne Marie Almedal)

4.   4 AM

5.   Black Sun

6.   Cry Me A River*

7.   Cookie Raver

8.   Sometimes Almost Heaven

9.   Alpha Omega

10. Sweet Delirium

 

Credits: 

All tracks written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

Except * “Cry Me A River” (written by Arthur Hamilton).

 

Additional Info: 

Featured guest vocalist: Anne Marie Almedal (Somewhere Out There).

Keyboard solo: Kjetil Husebø (Perfect Sky).

Additional ideas & input: Dj Strangefruit (Perfect Sky & Sometimes Almost Heaven).

Additional engineering: Ken Theodorsen (Sweet Delirium).

Mixed at 4m2 studios, Oslo.

Mastered by Audun Strype/Strype Audio.

 

Artwork: Designwerke (aka Claus Torp).

 

Note: This album release was an exclusive license from +47/Love OD to BMG/RCA (Norway), and available via BMG/RCA worldwide affiliates.

 

The CD was also released in the USA via Logic Records), Russia via BMG (incl. Cassette) and in the Far-East via ToCo (incl. Cassette).

 

On the CD version there is also a secret audio snippet as the final track “Sweet Delirium” fades into silence.

A short looped vocal sample from Illumination’s “Hope To God” fading into a vinyl scratch/sample of Nicholas Sillitoe (as a boy soprano) singing the words “Shall I See God”- taken from a recording of him singing Handel’s “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth”.

 

Illumination - Cry Me A River

Format: 12” Vinyl

Cat#: 74321 86432 1

© 2001

 

A1:   Cry Me A River

B1:   Cry Me A River (Illumination remix)

 

Credits: 

Produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

Written by Arthur Hamilton.

 

Note: This release was an exclusive license from +47/Love OD to BMG/RCA (Norway). A “Promo only” CD single was also manufactured, though not for commercial release.

 

The B-side remix would eventually reappear on the Illumination remix compilation “The Chilluminati Remixes”. This particular mix has often been credited/tagged as a “Chilluminati Remix”, or “Club Mix” on several other compilations, but is actually the same version.

Illumination - Kool Karma

Format: 7” Vinyl/CD/Digital single

Cat#: 7 LOD 0401/  82876641852

© 2004

 

A1:   Kool Karma

B1:   Palestine, Texas

 

Credits: 

Written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

 

Additional Info: 

Featured guest vocalist: Anneli Drecker (Kool Karma)

Recorded & Mixed at 4m2 studios, Oslo.

 

Note: This release was an exclusive license from +47/Love OD to BMG/RCA (Norway).

 

A CD single version was also released, including the video of “Kool Karma” (directed by David Reiss-Andersen).

 

The B-side/Track 2 “Palestine, Texas” would also appear on the album “The Poppy Rocks”.

 

Per Martinsen later released his own remix of “Kool Karma” digitally in 2010, on the back of his transmedia project “Earthbound – Surfing the Apocalypse” (Love OD).

Illumination - The Poppy Rocks

Format: CD album

Cat#: 82876 641 592

© 2004

 

1.    Summertime’s Gone By

2.    Here Come The Stars

3.    Kool Karma (feat. Anneli Drecker)

4.    Watercolours

5.    You Lift Me Up

6.    Palestine, Texas

7.    The Innocents

8.    Where Do The Children Play*

9.    Phase

10.  I Can Feel It

 

Credits: 

All tracks written, produced and performed by Nicholas Sillitoe & Per Martinsen.

Except * “Where Do The Children Play” (written by Yusuf Islam/aka Cat Stevens).

 

Additional Info: 

Guest vocalist: Anneli Drecker (Kool Karma).

Cello: Paulin Skoglund Voss (Phase).

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered at 4m2 studios, Oslo.

 

Artwork: Rune Mortensen.

 

Note: This album release was an exclusive license from +47/Love OD to BMG/RCA (Norway), and available worldwide via BMG affiliates.

 

There also appears to be a rare BMG/RCA “promo only” CD single version of “Watercolours”, that was used in radio/press promotion around the time of album release.

 

This release is currently unavailable for digital streaming.

 

Other Releases

 

FBU.jpg

Various Artists - FBU: Recollections In Rare Altitude

Format: CD album

Cat#: HSR001

© 1998

 

1.   Illumination – Sometimes Almost Heaven

2.   Mental Overdrive – You Gotta Believe

3.   Those Norwegians – Da Kingue D´Mazda

4.   Erot - Haribo

5.   Bjørn Torske – Limb Fu

6.   Mental Overdrive – About Jazz (Idjut Boys Remix)

7.   Ultraviolet – Union (Stacey Pullen Remix)

8.   Krisp - Fleet

 

Artwork: Designwerke (aka Claus Torp).

 

Note: In late 1998 Nicholas Sillitoe and Per Martinsen curated and compiled the compilation "FBU: Recollections In Rare Altitude"; a joint venture release between their two respective labels +47 & Love OD; distributed by HS Records, Oslo.

This CD compiled not only some of their own productions as “Illumination”, “Mental Overdrive” and “Ultraviolet”, but also a fine collection of electronica from friends and colleagues in the Norwegian electronic music scene, scattered around Oslo, Bergen and Tromsø.

 

The “FBU” title was a nod to the now defunct "Fornebu" airport, a familiar meeting place for all the artists and DJ’s on this compilation, whenever they had the opportunity to fly in and out of Norway.

Additional Remixes & Curiosities
 

Drowning Sun.png
Cheese Royale.jpg

Velvet Belly - Drowning Sun 

Format: CD single/EP

Cat#: 74321 41609 2

© 1996

 

3. Drowning Sun (Illumination Remix)

 

Note: Prior to signing a license deal with BMG/RCA (Norway), Illumination did a rare remix for Norwegian dream-pop band “Velvet Belly”, who were, at the time, a priority artist on the local Norwegian major label.

 

Illumination delivered several remixes to the label, with one of their live remix passes released here.

 

Nicholas Sillitoe, bewitched by Anne Marie Almedal’s vocals, soon found himself enticed by the siren, and the pair ended up creative partners on her own solo productions (as well as husband and wife).

 

This release is currently not available for digital streaming, but the remix can be heard here.

 

Mental Overdrive - Cheese Royale 

Format: Vinyl/CD single

Cat#: 7243 8 95866 2 6

© 1999

 

3. Cheese Royale (Dr. Sennep & The Hot Dog's Remix)

 

Note: Nicholas Sillitoe, Per Martinsen and Bjørn Torske collaborated on the rare “Dr. Sennep & The Hot Dog's” remix of Per Martinsen's very own “Mental Overdrive” release on Virgin Records (Norway).

No one is quite sure how the remix name came about, let alone completed - in a coffee and cigar-fueled haze of acoustic guitars, bongos, synths and deep house beats.

 

The "Dr. Sennep" remix title translates as “Dr. Mustard” (a vital condiment with Norwegian “pølser” - hot dogs).

 

A video of the original Mental Overdrive "Cheese Royale" track should hopefully shed some light on the proceedings.

Live 

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