Sunday 26 June 2022

Revisiting Röyksopp

Röyksopp - long time favourites of mine and tied with a couple of other artists for being the oldest additions to my collection. They are back after a long abscence - after intiially bidding farewell to the traditional album format with The Inevitable End, they've come back around and released a new LP. They didn't stop in the interim though, they might have been down with albums but there was a steady stream of content from them. In true Van Foxbat™ fashion though, this post isn't going to be about the new LP, but instead a collection of their works I really like.
We're kicking off with Ice Machine - originally from their Late Night Tales compilation (and a televised live perfomance before that), but would also appear later on the Lost Tapes series. It's one of the early examples of them working with Susanne Sundfør, who you might recognise from her contributions to some M83 tracks, Sundfør is actually the main inspiration behind this post - but more on that later. Her vocal very well suits the Röyksopp sound of this era, shifting from the all-out electropop of Junior to something more closer to the electronic that inspired them in the first place - leading to this Depeche Mode cover. It's tradition for artists who do a Late Night Tales compilation to include a cover on them which can lead to some interesting spins on things, things are played fairly true to the original here though.

Moving forward in time to Susanne Sundfør's album Ten Love Songs - it's not wholly electronic, but the electronic parts are by far and away my favourites, top of that list being Fade Away. I've chosen Slowly for this post not just because it fits that bill, but also according to the credits Röyksopp did some additional production work for it. If you've listened to them for as long as I have you might not have even needed me to say that, their handiwork is quite evident here to my ears. Sundfør's vocal suits this style of electronic so well, (one that might yet get another revival if this retro trend continues) she's yet another in a long chain of vocalists I've been introduced to from Röyksopp records.

And of course, I couldn't do a whole post of Röyksopp/Sundfør without mentioning Never Ever, one of their first releases post-The Inevitable End. I actually talked about it on the podcast we used to do way back when, and having quickly gone back to listen to it my thoughts are pretty much the same as they were then: I loved Junior a whole lot, to the point where I still hold it up as a fine example of electronic pop done right - Never Ever continues that same trend - deviously catchy with a shout-out chorus, it's obviously gunning more for that 'summer radio dance anthem' angle of yore (Doubly so with the ironically retro music video). But I don't mind that at all - as I said at the time, I thought if Röyksopp planned to stop doing albums and just drop singles like this every now and then was the plan, it was a pretty good one.

And that'll be all for today, I suppose I should follow this up with an overview of their new album but who knows, maybe I'll end up doing a Retro Review of Junior instead! If this is your first proper exposure to Röyksopp, please note that not all their discography is like this, if electropop isn't much your thing I would still recommend their debut Melody A.M., it's one of the finest 'chillout' albums of the early 2000s - packed with ear-worms and some songs you will definitely recognise. That'll be all for now, I'll be back soon enough with more but until then, as always, stay safe and enjoy the music.


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