Thursday, November 17, 2016

RÖYKSOPP-The Understanding [Japanese Deluxe Edition] (2005)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: November 17, 2016

I have been in 'solo chill mode' all day—smooth jazz music keeping me company in the morning, a bit of outdoor fall gardening in the afternoon, then indulging in a few minutes of computer gaming during the early evening hours—so it only seemed right that I would top off my night with a second chill-out music session. The Norwegian electronic duo that calls itself RÖYKSOPP becomes the ninth artist from the 'R' entries in my music library (and tenth artist whose name begins with the letter 'R' overall) to receive "The Music Spectrum" spotlight. I surely got acquainted to them in the same way that I got hip to a lot of the other electronic producers I've come across in my music-listening journeys: through the special chill-out radio sessions I would often enjoy on my late-night drives some years back. And there's not a session that chilled me out more on this duo's second album than "Only This Moment". The cool thing about ambient/chill-out music—and just about the electronic music genre in general—is that knowing the actual words to the songs being performed isn't always of utmost important; the various electronic textures and beats and glitzy sound effects are usually the primary attraction. That's exactly how I feel about "Only This Moment" (loving every second of the music's dreamy sound, accented by the hushed, mellow PET SHOP BOYS thing going on with the main vocals while the wailing voice of a guest female singer adding an angelic touch in the background) and all the rest of my favorite stops along this RÖYKSOPP voyage: "49 Percent" (the soulful voice of a Chelonis R. Jones accompanies the drum n' bass rhythm and the sleek ambiance), "Follow My Ruin" (the vocals are extremely soothing here), "Circuit Breaker" (lots of synthpop spark electrifies the senses on this upbeat cut!), "Alpha Male" (I always love these that start off with the slow, sweeping ambiance before the main beat steps in; could've taken only the ambiance as a complete chill-out cut, but the funky synthpop beat adds a cool texture that makes this one so fascinating beyond the chills—a score to an action movie soundtrack even), "Someone Like Me" (those hushed vocals again—extremely soothing on the ears once more, and the sharp synthesized electronic accompaniment reminds me of those old 8-bit computer games from the 80's while the song itself has a cool, sinister, trippy vibe to it) and "Dead To The World" (it's the track that "Alpha Male" almost was: a completely chilled and lofty, slowed-down groove with minimal vocals that are barely audible; the music sounds so nice and warming, despite the darkness suggested by the title). Not too difficult to figure out—"The Understanding" is an intelligent and creative collection of instrumental artistry that will open up your mind to so many musical possibilities:

CD #1

1. Triumphant
2. Only This Moment
3. 49 Percent
4. Sombre Detune
5. Follow My Ruin
6. Beautiful Day Without You
7. What Else Is There?
8. Circuit Breaker
9. Alpha Male
10. Someone Like Me
11. Dead To The World
12. Tristesse Globale
13. Curves

CD #2

1. Only This Moment (Royksopp's Forsiktige Massasje)
2. Go Away
3. Clean Sweep
4. Boys
5. Head
6. Looser Now
7. Only This Moment (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix)
8. 49 Percent (Angello & Ingrosso Remix)

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