While self-seriousness tends to rule both mainstream EDM and underground dance music alike, Stockholm’s Studio Barnhus label follows more lighthearted impulses, with a playful streak of gentle absurdism informs twinkling deep house tunes sourced from sentimental disco, R&B, and easy listening. Founded in 2010 by Axel Boman, Kornél Kovács, and Petter Nordkvist, Barnhus taps a similar vibe as DJ Koze’s Pampa label (which might not be surprising, since Boman has recorded some of his best work for Pampa). Bright colors, squirrelly melodies, and unusual textures are the order of the day, and although an undercurrent of melancholy runs beneath even its most whimsical releases, there’s no one style or sound to sum up all the label’s output; the catalog runs from swirly sampledelia to convoluted synth jams, and from lo-fi tone poems to double-time footwork jams.
More than 16 hours long, this frequently updated playlist gathers the label’s entire catalog, from a debut EP (Good Children Make Bad Grown Ups) drenched in soul and big-band jazz to Kornél Kovács’ debut album, The Bells, one of 2016’s finest house long-players. For best results, select shuffle mode, and spend the rest of your day flipping between day-dream reveries and delirious rug-cutting—all of it with a giddy smile pasted from ear to ear.