I love a bit of bleak Nordic dance music. Of course it’s not all bleak particularly, but there’s often a chilly melancholy about some of the music that just really pushes my buttons
Röyksopp have been a good source of this over the years, with amazing tracks like “Only this moment”, “What else is there?” and “Poor Leno” for starters. I haven’t had a great history with their albums, but I think that’s just me not spending enough time on them.
The only one I’ve really listened to that much is 2005’s “The Understanding” which I still love. Since then they had a double-act of 2009’s “Junior” and 2010’s “Senior” which I really need to listen to. That’s a new project for me!
I’d better hurry though, there’s new material on the way. At the end of last year, they debuted “Running to the Sea”, featuring the ethereal vocals of acclaimed Norwegian artist Susanne Sundfør. I hadn’t heard of her before, but I’ll check her out too – she also collaborated with M83 on the title track to the “Oblivion” soundtrack, it sounds right up my street.
“Running to the sea” is accessibly commercial, but has no less dramatic impact as a result. Susanne’s vocals soar over a typically chilling and emotional electronic backdrop, as she recounts a tragic but unclear event – a car accident maybe?
It builds and builds, layers of beats and synthy swirls. Beginning gently, by the end it’s turned into this big beat-driven finale, with Susanne’s vocals staying on top of it the whole time. Really gorgeous stuff, and great news for the upcoming album.
I really love their female-vocalled stuff, and the Robyn collaboration on “Junior” single “The Girl and the Robot” was brilliant. I just want to throw all my favourite Nordic singers at them: Robyn, Margaret Berger, Lene Marlin, Loreen … God, can you imagine how good a Loreen song would be?
Watch this space though, I feel like I’m on the brink of another Scandinavian period.