Friday, July 17, 2009

O.P.E. - you don't have a clue about my love for Synthia

As you know, I've been listening to my new CD acquisition, Röyksopp's "Junior," fairly extensively over the last few days despite my computer problems. Much of this time has been spent listening to "The Girl and the Robot," but I have actually listened to other songs on the album - more than once.

Lately, I've been placing the song "You Don't Have a Clue" on constant repeat. This song, one of several collaborations between Röyksopp and Anneli Drecker, occurs toward the end of the CD. I guess the best way to describe the song would be otherworldly polar electrofolk. "Polar" because the song sounds like it was written back in Tromsø (x, x, and Drecker are all from this northern Norwegian town), and "electrofolk" because it sounds like the song (especially the chorus) was conceived during a power failure and fleshed out when the power came back on.

As for the "otherworldly," you just need to wait for the first chorus to kick in, and listen to the very high vocal stylings in the background - about a half octave higher than Anneli Drecker is singing. While the backing vocals are credited to Röyksopp, I think that a little bit of artificial help was involved (even the late Michael Jackson didn't sing that high - in fact, most women don't sing that high). So, I personally credit the backing vocals to someone that I call "Synthia."

With all due respect to all of the other females on the album, Synthia clearly holds her own on this song. OK, she may robot, but I guess I'm in love anyway. users can hear the song here, or you can listen to this live performance (including audience participation from a not-so-talented audience).

As for the lyrics, they deal with a continuing or non-continuing relationship:

It's late in the night,
The dancing is done,
The music has died,
We're ready to run.

But you don't have a clue,
This party hasn't ended yet,
Not for me and you,
And now you're just pretending, yeah.

But even they turn otherworldly:

You're hiding from yourself,
Guess you are, yes you are,
Like golden rays of sun,
in the cloud,

We're meant to be one,
I know we are,
If I am the sky,
Then you are my star...

Or perhaps the people of Tromsø just have deeper thoughts about the sun and the lack thereof, which is understandable. As I write this, the sun is not scheduled to set in the town until 12:45 AM...on July 26. Of course, by November 26 it will be a different story.

Svein Berge spoke about his hometown in a 2005 interview:

I grew up in Tromso, really far north up in Norway. To us it was perfect, great scenery, great space. This was obviously prior to the Internet and so on, so one was quite secluded in many ways, particularly culturally. Impressions from what was going on in the UK had to be chased and sought after, which for people like us – interested in club culture and club music - made it very hard....

[O]bviously when you’re 14 you cannot really just piss off to London and go raving. In Tromso they were scarce – but we knew some guys who arranged rave parties every 3 months or so that probably had 50-100 people attending at most. And up in Tromso it would really be quite drug-free, and more about the joy of playing live music, the atmosphere and the strobes, which meant the scene was very healthy.

As for Drecker, I couldn't find her views on her hometown, but she does appreciate the sunflower, according to

Anneli accepted to be the protector of the sunflower. In a role play Anneli was handed over a flower pot with a small sunflower, and she had to promise to take good care of it, give it light and water to make it grow.

The sunflower protectors are ambasadors for SOS Children's Villages, and Anneli was excited to participate as she is already supporting a child through their program.

More information here (in Norwegian).
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