Welcome to Guthrie’s Grooves, in this new column I will be sharing my thoughts and perceptions of some of the new(ish) music out there today. I know that many of our readers have very specific niches in the musical world, from which they tend to pull the vast majority of their tunes from (be it funk, reggae, hip-hop, techno, indie, you name it), and with the invention of such technologies as Apple’s iTunes, and Amazon’s MP3, finding your favorite tunes has never been easier.
The only problem is… with all of that music out there, how do you find something that isn’t already on your playlist that is still interesting to listen to? It is my goal with this column to introduce readers to music that they may not stumble across in their everyday listening, and something to bring new flavor to one’s current tunes. (Disclaimer, I am radio agnostic, so if I have an album on here with a hit song that you’ve heard on the radio, I am not selecting my album based on just that one song.)
Up this issue is Röyksopp, a fantastical band hailing from Tromsø, Norway and entrepenuers of electronic I haven’t heard the likes of since “Justice” came on to my radar in 2008. The album in particular is “Junior,” released March 23, 2009, and it packs a punch of heavy synth beats, mixing the highs and lows between songs with excellent female vocals drifting in and out of the melody.
I tend to gravitate towards albums that give a whole listening experience from start to completion, and “Junior” delivers in spades.
Starting out with the declarative “Happy Up Here,” “Junior” then moves decidedly into a club mix that one might find while stumbling into a club in Europe. Pumping with enthusiasm and trance inducing bass, it is only glimpsing the next few sections of the album.
From there, another transition through “Vision One”, and “This Must Be It,” “Junior” reaches its first climax with “Röyksopp Forever.” If you’ve ever had the notion to produce a video, and you were desperately searching through your library in hopes that you could find a track for a montage that had “EPIC” stenciled in bold letters on top of the MP3 file name, this would be it. Royksopp masterfully executes a mini album within this one song, complete with rising, climax and falling action, leading to the excellent end of the albums first movement. Turn up the volume at 3:13, and prepare to vault into the rafters with a masterfully executed chord change, resolving minor into major. Good stuff. From here, the album begins its descent towards its end, with notable bumps along the road being track nine’s “Silver Cruiser,” another wonderful soundtrack candidate, and somewhat reminiscent of the music used in “28 Days Later,” if you happen to dig zombies.
Overall, with excellent execution and purpose, Röyksopp’s “Junior” makes for an excellent and digestible first time foray into the world of electronic, chillout, and ambient music scene. And as always, as I wouldn’t recommend it if I haven’t listened to it, my rating system is based off of how many times I have fully listened to an album (as shown in FooBar). Two thumbs up to Norway, this album earns a very hearty score of 22.