Imagine if The Cramps had been kidnapped by choral monks and taken hostage deep in the forests of the Ardeche and ordered to pray to God and a Roland 808 drum machine. It’s implausible, admittedly, but with that in mind we’d ask you to kindly close your eyes, place the headphones on your head and soak in the atmospheric world of Anders Trentemøller.
Occasionally you encounter an artist for whom it’s not simply about mere taste, but about atmosphere and Trentemøller is surely among their number. For here is a sound in all its florid glory that evokes frosty Belgian cathedrals full of sturdy Flemings praying for salvation; or a wintry plain somewhere in Denmark, with the car broken down, walking forlornly towards Zealand in the hope that another human might take pity.
This is Gothic pop with a side order of tremolo arms.
Trentemøller is the Dane who did. He’s been making electronic music of one kind of bent or another for over 15 years, first making his name as part of Trigbag, a live house act that toured extensively. But it’s his solo material that has impacted on the dance community – and beyond. ‘La Champagne’ was a game-changer and his remixes of artists like Sharon Phillips secured his place as an artist with some serious chops. But that’s not all he is. You can hear that yearning in his productions and it’s evident here, a sort of Protestant northern European melancholy.
He is aided on his journey towards the Baltic by some heavy hitters, of course: Velvet Underground,Mazzy Star, This Mortal Coil. But that’s not the story, it’s not where the plot comes from, it’s not where we’re going. It’s just a little indicator to reassure you we know the way. No. For it’s in the dark beauty of Low’s tremulous ‘Amazing Grace’ or even the way that the Shangri-Las’ ‘(Remember) Walkin’ In The Sand’, surrounded by the similarly inclined, takes on a funereal gait.
As we navigate the flatlands of your mind, we’re helped along by a generous sprinkling of Anders’ fellow Danes, like Darkness Falls (the atmosphere of this mix aptly encapsulated right there), Ekko, Chimes & Bells and the Late Night Tales tradition, Trentemøller’s cover of Chris Isaacs’ ‘Blue Hotel’, sung byMarie Fisker and Steen Jørgensen.
Do not play this music to children, for it will terrify them. Do not play it in supermarkets, their sales will fall dramatically. Do not play this music to the frivolous, the faint of heart and weak of resolve. This is music for music lovers. This is music for those like their black to be truly noir. Danish style.
Music journalist Paul Morley adopts the bedtime storyteller mantle with a narration of part one of a new short story ‘Lost For Words’.
Listen to a 5 minute album sampler here:[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/13927587″] Tracklisting
1 This Mortal Coil – Waves Become Wings
2 Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds – La Lliarona
3 The Black Angels – Science Killer
4 Chimes & Bells – The Mole (TrentemøllerRemix)
5 Low – (That’s How You Sing) Amazing Grace
6 Mazzy Star – Mary of Silence
7 Velvet Underground & Nico – Venus In furs
8 Vampire Hands – Safe Word
9 The Shangri-La’s – Walking In The Sand
10 Jacqueline Taieb – 7 Heures Du Matin
11 M.Ward – Poor Boy, Minor Key
12 Darkness Falls – Noise On The Line
13 Papercuts – Unavailable
14 We Fell To Earth – Lights Out
15 Thee Oh See’s – Ghost In The Trees
16 Trentemøller- Blue Hotel (Exclusive Chris Isaak Cover Version)
17 Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – The Proposition #1
18 Eden Ahbez – Full Moon
19 Ekko – Rehearsal
20. Paul Morley – Lost For Words – part. 1 (Exclusive Spoken Word Piece)