In the realm of superheroes, Jor-El was the father of Superman. Once the eminent scientist had saved his son by sending him from the failing home planet to Earth, he perished with the rest of the Kryptonians. But a semblance of Jor-El lived on as a wise computer program, guiding Superman whenever needed and thereby greatly aiding the whole of mankind. So in a way, it was first after Jor-El was re-embodied as this computerized mentor that he filled his true purpose.
In the realm of electronic music, however, Jor-El is the moniker of Swedish house and techno veteran Joel Alter. As a youngster, Joel was deeply immersed in Gothenburg’s techno scene in the early 90’s and when he heard the Roni Size-Track “Timestretch” he fell in love with drum n’ bass and decided to start DJing. The raw and downright physical sound of 90’s
underground club music is something that has always stayed with Alter. But it’s not until
now, with the return of Jor-El, that this sound is given more of a free rein. So even though
Jor-El is a moniker, the music is very much personal. With Jor-El, Joel Alter is getting back to his roots. And they’re rough around the edges.
The first two Jor-El records were released on DJ Hell’s famed International Deejay Gigolo
Records back in 2005 and 2007, with Joel Alter moving to Berlin a year after the second
release. Joel Alter calls this period his “extended journey into the world of music”, releasing impressively diverse dance music on labels like Bass Culture, Sweatshop and a soulful album on Uncanny Valley in 2015. He also started his much celebrated collaboration with Henrik Jonsson aka Porn Sword Tobacco during this period. As Jonsson/Alter they really took the world by… well not by storm, rather by a sweet summer’s breeze. Their beautifully dubbed out sounds revitalized the Swedish house scene and landed the duo both two albums on Kontra-Musik as well as live shows at both the Panorama Bar and Berghain floor.
Speaking of which: as a much respected producer and DJ as well as a long time resident in Berlin, Joel Alter has of course played just about everywhere. Through his whole musical journey Joel has retained a vein of Swedish melancholy, and while that’s still ever present more rugged and physical sounds have been re-introduced with the return of Jor-El. This is very much apparent in his DJ sets as well. Joel Alter now lives in Copenhagen where he runs
True Rotary Recordings with his partner Ena Cosovic. This is also the main outlet for Jor-El.
After a long musical expedition, Joel Alter has finally come home just to find his own
moniker waiting for him there. Rough and powerful sounds paired with dark and dubby
streaks of melancholia – this was always the true purpose of Jor-El.