I like Eric Prydz productions, quite original and interesting. Just noticed with his latest mix, the Transitions Guest Mix 2006-12-17, that he prefers more minimalist productions, similar to a lot of his fellow swedish producers.
A lot of the underground dance music is becoming techno/minimalist in nature, even with progressive house productions, so maybe that’s the way it goes.
As for why there are so many excellent Nordic producers out there, compared with the amount of people living up there. My guess is that internet + not much to do at wintertime + high level of education especially in arts has something to do with it. Also, with the social system in place, there’s a better chance to do art than having to worry about getting food on the table every single day. Here in USA, if you don’t have any private support system in place, it’s just plain tough to live on music.
Who knows, I’m from a Nordic country myself, and when I lived in Finland and Sweden many years ago there was nothing like this happening concerning producers such as Eric Prydz, Axwell, Luomo, Steve Angello, Trentemoller and many more… Yes, we had A-ha, and it was actually a very indie-music based band that was forced into a commercial role, initially, but that’s another story.