Where To Start With… Röyksopp
Hailing from the city of Tromsø on the snowy northern shores of Norway, Röyksopp were one of several groups to emerge at the tail end of the 1990s from the stable of Telle Records, an independent label based in Bergen whose alumni also includes the likes of Kings of Convenience and Ralph Myerz.
Formed in 1998 by Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland, Röyksopp scored early success with their 2001 debut LP Melody A.M., which yielded several club and chart hits with tracks like ‘Eple’ and ‘Poor Leno’, quickly earning plenty of fans with their warm and fuzzy brand of electronica and establishing themselves as an impressive live act.
Between then and 2014 the duo released a further four albums, as well as a collaborative LP with Swedish singer-songwriter Robyn, often collaborating with a range of other Scandinavian artists including The Knife’s Karin Dreijer and fellow Norwegian Susanne Sundfør.
Their most recent studio album The Inevitable End was accompanied by the news that Röyksopp would no longer be releasing music in the “traditional album format”, and that although they planned to continue making music together, the duo explained that there were “many musical expressions” that they wanted to make, just not necessarily as albums.
So far that has led to a monthly series of b-sides and rarities collectively known as the Lost Tapes, but this week Röyksopp return with what looks a lot like an album, but is being dutifully referred to by the duo themselves only as their new ‘project’.
To be fair to Röyksopp though, their new release Profound Mysteries is also accompanied by a series of short films for each of its tracks, making this more like a visual album similar to Beyoncé’s Lemonade rather than the ‘traditional’ format they are trying to avoid.
Whatever it is, Profound Mysteries is nevertheless an exciting return to the fray for the duo which features guest appearances from Alison Goldfrapp, Astrid S and, once again, Susanne Sundfør, among others.
To celebrate its arrival in stores this Friday (April 29) we’ve picked out five of their finest tunes to date as a refresher – you can also find the visualiser video for their recent single ‘Impossible’ below…
Perhaps the most enduring of the many great tracks featured on their excellent debut LP, ‘Eple’ follows the album’s largely instrumental trend with a simple, hypnotic groove that exudes the kind of warmth found all across their first album. Still a classic.
We couldn’t not include this track from Melody A.M., one of the few tracks on the album with a full vocal, but again it shows their knack for an affecting melody and the much heavier live version remains a highlight of their live shows.
‘What Else Is There?’
One of the biggest hits from their sophomore LP The Understanding, ‘What Else Is There’ features Karin Dreijer’s soaring vocals and stands out as one of the album’s highlights (although the rest of the album features plenty of gems too).
‘Happy Up Here’
Featured on their 2009 album Junior, ‘Happy Up Here’ is based around a short sample from George Clinton / Parliament deep cut ‘Do That Stuff’ and is typical of the album’s upbeat mood – in stark contrast to its much darker follow-up Senior, released a year later. This track was also one of the album’s biggest hits along with the Robyn-featuring ‘The Girl and The Robot’.
Our final pick is the opening salvo from their most recent (and final?) ‘album’ proper, 2014’s The Inevitable End, and while it was no means the album’s breakthrough track we’ve included it almost solely on the basis of the gnarly synth riff that opens proceedings. A hidden gem.
Profound Mysteries is available in hmv stores now - you can also find it here in our online store.