Royksopp ‘Senior’

Royksopp / ‘Senior’

CD Album / MP3 Download

Released September 13th / Wall of Sound

After hitting it big with Melody A.M. Royksopp have gone on to remix, rework, compose and produce a wealth of work far more complex than many of their chart-reaching singles would suggest. To those who have yet to pick up on what’s under the proverbial hood, we ask why not?

The combination of expert aural arrangements and intelligent marketing has led to adoration from die hard downbeaters, synth pop lovers and even groovy house geeks willing to seek out remixes such as their excellent take on Anneli Drecker’s Sexy Love. In contrast, with Senior it’s quite difficult to find the obvious potential singles. Without coming up for a sniff of commercial air, all the compositions on this long-player are the moodiest, most mysterious and hallucinogenic release from the duo’s catalogue to date.

After the ambient tune-up that is …And Then The Forest Began To Sing the bumbling bassline, and Swayzak-esque trancey plod of Tricky Two steps out. Before long eerie, filtered, distorted and barely audible vocal harmonies creep in while staccato rain-sticks, wood cans and an acid-bleep begin to take things towards more driving destinations. As soon as we’re comfortable again the pace changes, with nods at Giorgio Moroder as the track makes its intentions clear.

Offering of the album for most will no doubt go to Forsaken Cowboy, which blends guitar flourishes with choral vocals, while brushed cymbals and sand-filled drum beats carry us to some open panorama. Perhaps it’s the Old West, the trotting pace and tempo could certainly invoke riding on horseback, and it’s a track as vividly imaginable in the mind’s eye as other electro-drifter tracks such as Herbert’s reworking of Serge Gainsbourg’s Bonnie & Clyde. What’s more, Royksopp’s outing in pioneer country is just as beautiful.

The Fear and Coming Home offer similarly enticing moments reached through different ideas. The Blade Runner style air-saws, slow breakbeat and atmospheric space-age organs of the former are something to be adored, while the combination of opiate haze, fair-ground electric piano and shimmering effects of the latter suggest the child like innocence of mad geniuses at work.

Almost like they’re putting you to bed, all that remains of the album is the beatless bliss that is A Long, Long Way. Strings soar into untapped heights, as a seemingly soundless weight spreads out from speaker or headphone, suggesting orbit before gradually dropping you back to Earth with an analogue thud. A complete album from start to finish, it’s difficult to know where to find fault- just don’t expect to feel remotely like moving when it’s spent.