Röyksopp – Senior
[Wall Of Sound, 2010]
Jeff Pearson, September 10, 2010
Originally published by Life’s Sweet Breath
Listen: “The Fear”
Norwegian duo Röyksopp follow up 2009’s outgoing Junior with the dark, introspective slice of electronica in Senior. The album leaves you out in the cold to wander your thoughts as well as harsh Scandinavian nature, with each note gently floating from above in the form of a snowflake landing on your ear as you hope to find your way home.
The production duo made up of Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland open things up with a brief, hazy introduction called “…And The Forest Began To Sing”. The track drips out of the speakers at a shadowy down-tempo crawl, synthesizers blanketing the snowy, loping hills of bass. The track segues into “Tricky Two”, a steady throb, considering the album’s general tone, but one that still keeps the theme of darkness and intrigue. Röyksopp build up a wall of sound over the bass swells, only to break it down to a drone. Next is “The Alcoholic”, a tune with dark undertones offset by sparkling synthesizer lines like stars against a velvet sky.
The album slips back into the underworld with the syrupy “Senior Living”. The duo use the space created by the slow tempo for a beautiful string arrangement and patient electric guitar lines. The tempo is upped a bit with “The Drug”, complete with glitchy percussion and truncated, icy synth hits. “The Fear” is pounded into your head with a half-time beat and steady build up of smooth, funky bass, darkly dancing synthesizers and palm-muted guitar sounds. It practically bursts at the seams with cymbal flourishes and expertly timed drum fills. Truly a brilliant track, an intense listening experience almost necessarily followed up by the serene “Coming Home”, which follows through on its name, really giving the listener a feeling of return, albeit to the more innocent days of childhood, or in the literal sense of recalling a feeling of home.
Senior takes you on a journey emotionally, bringing forth many familiar feelings of reflection, loneliness, confusion, panic, and ultimately comfort. Röyksopp have created a world with which to explore, in the hopes that we find something meaningful there. Just like our world, our physical biosphere, this place has bright days just around the corner.