Lest you think I stopped listening to music in 1980, I offer you one of my favorite bands, Royksopp.
I’m not sure where I first heard Royksopp. I’m sure it wasn’t on the radio. While some of their songs are certainly radio friendly, as you will soon hear for yourself, the best thing about Royksopp is also their biggest liability – the fact that there is nothing that will automatically identify a song as undoubtedly Royksopp in the first 10 seconds. And this is aside from the fact that they are a European band with an unpronouncable name, a death knell in America.
On their two best albums, Melody A.M. (2001) and The Understanding (2005), Royksopp sounds like a completely different band on nearly every cut. They employ different guest vocalists, for one thing, but for another, they play everything from dance to jazz to torch songs. All very electronic, yet also warm-sounding much of the time.
Enough from me – listen for yourself:
What Else Is There?:
This song could have been huge. In 1988, that is. Unfortunately, it employs the wrong type of 80s vibe for today’s audience – the Siouxsie and the Banshees kind. It’s an expansive, sinuous song with lyrics that can be interpreted a hundred different ways. I have no idea who the girl singing is.
From The Understanding.
Does this not sound like an entirely different band? One of the most beautiful songs of the last 10 years, without a doubt. A strange combination of torch and electronica that actually works. And when the slightly disembodied (or just sampled) female singer croons:
It doesn’t matter when
it may rain or it may shine
blurred memories of us
come back from time to time
well… I just get chills.
From Melody A.M.
One of my favorite albums of all time is the soundtrack to Blade Runner; when I heard this song, I thought I’d found a bonus track. “She’s So” has the same spacy, smoky, noir-ish sound as the Vangelis music from Blade Runner, only jazzier. At the same time, it also reminds me of another of my favorite bands, Air.
From Melody A.M.
Do yourself a favor – download these three, then get thee to Itunes or whatever you use and get the rest.